The history of banks begins long before the advent of a new era. The starting point can be called the time of the emergence of commodity-money relations, when there was a need for money storage and exchange. At the same time, in a number of countries (Italy, Babylon, Greece), the maintenance of trade books was noted. The entries in these books contained the amounts of deposits, the names of the owners of the funds, in addition one or more persons were indicated who could take the savings on behalf of the owner. The emergence of banks was determined by the need to collect taxes for the government of the state and for the development of temples, and keeping records on them.
In the 7th century BC, the history of banking begins with the Babylonian moneylender merchants and the appearance of bank notes intended for exchange for gold; with ancient Greek money changers offering services for exchanging and storing money savings. In the second century A.D., the royal banks of Thebes, Memphis and other great countries kept records and kept taxes, accepted income from the activities of their own enterprises, spending money on the maintenance of the state, the army and weapons, issued loans, attracted deposit funds from the population, engaged in the physical transfer of funds to other cities.
In the Middle Ages, the demand for bankers' services grew significantly: there were many different coins in circulation that needed to be changed for trading. Then the word "bank" arose - from the name of the shop where the money changers were sitting. Banco in Italian means "bench", "bench". Moreover, already at that time, bankers were engaged not only in exchange, but also in maintaining customer accounts, as well as non-cash payments. It is known that the Catholic Church opposed the collection of interest, so banking in the Middle Ages became the prerogative of mostly Jews.
One of the first banks is considered to be a partnership established in the Republic of Genoa, to which the function of collecting certain taxes was transferred in order to finance the wars in Algeria and Tunisia in 1147. Over time, there were more and more such partnerships, and in 1250 they merged into one. But loans had to be made further, so more and more new partnerships were opened. And again they all united in 1407, being called the Bank of St. George - this was the first commercial bank in the world to which the state officially allowed to accept private deposits, issue loans, and also transfer funds to other states. It lasted until 1805, when Napoleon captured Genoa and the bank was looted and abolished.
In 1402 a Guild of Bankers and Money Changers was established in Florence, headed by a representative of the Medici Bank. In the XIV–XV centuries the Medici Bank began to keep accounts of the papal court and the entire Roman Catholic Church. And the first state bank was Vapso della Piaza de Rialto, created by the decision of the Senate of the Republic of Venice in 1584.
In 1609, a bank was opened in Amsterdam, which, along with similar institutions in Italy and Germany, began to be called a girobank (from it. "giro" - turnover). The fact is that such banks specialized in non-cash payments between customers, and it was impossible to cash out the money - they went in circles from one account to another. It was considered convenient: fast and profitable, as cash coins quickly depreciated.
European banks of the XVII-XVIII centuries systematically carried out a certain complex of banking operations: accepting deposits, issuing loans, making payments, promissory note transactions. Since banks were already everywhere in Europe in the XVII century, in most developed countries they actively participated in lending to industry and other sectors of the economy. During this period, banks began to acquire specialization (divided into different types): central (issue), commercial (universal), settlement, savings, investment, etc.
In 1664, the Bank of England began its work, the "full-time" staff of which numbered 19 people. In exchange for loans to King Charles II, the bank received the exclusive right to issue national money, and in 1697 it was granted a monopoly on maintaining accounts of the English crown, as well as receiving and managing all tax payments. Since 1751, the Bank of England has been managing the national debt. At the same time, the banking law of 1709 prohibited the creation of other joint-stock banks in the country. After the abolition of the ban on the creation of joint-stock banks in 1827, 140 joint-stock banks were formed from 1830 to 1850, among which the largest ones stood out noticeably: London Joint Stock Bank, Westminster Joint Stock Bank, Union Bank, West India Bank, National Provincial Bank, etc. But after the banking crisis of 1847, the number of joint-stock banks decreased fourfold. By the end of the XIX century, the banking system and banking legislation finally developed in Great Britain, which became as the example for all European countries.
Unlike England, universal commercial banks, not specialized ones, have become more widespread in France. The Bank of France was founded by decree of Napoleon I (who believed that a developed banking system was necessary for the development of France's military industry) in 1800 in the form of a government institution. He carried out the money issue and controlled the money circulation. Currently, the French banking system is two-tiered:
1) The Bank of France and the banking supervision authorities (National Credit Council, Banking Regulation Committee, Banking Commission and Committee of Credit Institutions);
2) banking institutions (commercial, investment, trade, regional, cooperative, etc.), specialized credit and financial institutions (savings banks, postal check management, etc.).
The formation of banks and the banking system of Germany began in the XVIII century. Banks were created in the regions (Germany during this period was a fragmented state consisting of many kingdoms, principalities, counties, etc.) mainly for lending to the growing industry: mines, factories. The first joint-stock bank was established in 1848 in Prussia, the largest state in Germany (Bank of Scharfhausen).
In the USA, after the War of Independence (1775-1783), Congress established the First US Bank and authorized the issue of the national currency – the dollar. In 1816, the Second US Bank was established, which existed for 20 years - until 1836, it had the right to establish branches and branches in the states without coordinating its actions with local authorities.
After the closure of the second central bank in 1836, the number of commercial banks increased rapidly, and a banking crisis broke out, which began in 1847 in Europe, then spread to the Western Hemisphere and became the first world banking crisis. Systemic problems of regulation and control of banking activity were solved only in 1913 after the creation of the Federal Reserve System (FRS) of the USA. By 1913, there were more than 20 thousand banks in the country, including 7 thousand issue banks. In order to overcome such fragmentation in the issue, the territory of the state was divided into 12 federal reserve districts, in each of which a federal reserve bank was created. All 12 banks were private commercial, thus, a unique central bank system (FRS) was created in the USA, in which there were no state banks, and all the functions of the central bank (money issue, "bank of banks", government banker, etc.) were performed by 12 commercial banks united in the FRS.
Today, in most countries, the banking system consists of two levels:
1. Commercial banks - the first, lower level. Serve individuals and legal entities in order to make a profit;
2. The Central Bank is the second, highest level. Implements the issue and monetary policy in the country, organizes interbank settlements, the refinancing system, coordinates the work of the entire banking system.