Top 10 Oldest Banks in the World

The origins of banking can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, where money lending and currency exchange practices were in place. However, the modern banking system, as we know it today, began to take shape during the Renaissance period in Italy, specifically in the city of Florence in the 14th century.

In Florence, wealthy families such as the Medici established banks to finance trade and commerce, providing loans to merchants and facilitating international transactions. These banks also issued paper bills of exchange that could be used in place of physical currency, laying the foundation for modern banking.

Over time, banking practices spread throughout Europe and eventually to other parts of the world, with the establishment of central banks, commercial banks, and investment banks, among other financial institutions. Today, banking is a vital component of the global economy, providing individuals and businesses with a wide range of financial services and playing a key role in the functioning of financial markets.

Related: Top 10 Oldest Currencies in The World

Here are the top 10 oldest banks in the world, based on their year of foundation:

  1. Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena – Founded in 1472 in Italy, it is considered to be the world’s oldest surviving bank.
  2. C. Hoare & Co – Founded in 1672 in the United Kingdom, it is the oldest privately-owned bank in the UK.
  3. Berenberg Bank – Founded in 1590 in Germany, it is the oldest private bank in the world.
  4. Sveriges Riksbank – Founded in 1668 in Sweden, it is the world’s oldest central bank.
  5. Bank of New York Mellon – Founded in 1784 in the United States, it is the oldest bank in the US.
  6. Rothschild & Co – Founded in 1798 in France, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious banks in Europe.
  7. J. Safra Sarasin – Founded in 1841 in Switzerland, it is the oldest Swiss private bank.
  8. Pictet & Cie – Founded in 1805 in Switzerland, it is one of the oldest Swiss private banks.
  9. Lombard Odier – Founded in 1796 in Switzerland, it is the oldest Geneva-based private bank.
  10. Coutts & Co – Founded in 1692 in the United Kingdom, it is one of the oldest banks in the UK and is currently owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Did You Know

The Bank of England, which was founded in 1694, was the first institution to issue banknotes that were backed by gold. This system helped to stabilize the British economy and set the standard for modern paper currency.

Start of Online Banking

Online banking, which allows customers to conduct financial transactions via the internet, was first introduced in the 1980s. The first online banking service was offered by Stanford Federal Credit Union in 1994.

First Bank of the World

The exact origins of the first bank in the world are difficult to determine, as banking practices have been traced back to ancient civilizations. However, there are a few institutions that are considered to be some of the earliest banks in history.

One notable example is the Taula de la Ciutat in Barcelona, Spain, which was established in 1401. It is considered to be one of the oldest surviving public banks in the world.

Another renowned early banking institution is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, founded in 1472 in Siena, Italy. It is recognized as the oldest operating bank in the world.

The concept of banking, including deposit-taking and lending, has been practiced in various forms throughout history in different regions. For example, ancient temples in Babylon served as safe places for people to store their assets and facilitate trade. Additionally, during the Middle Ages, banking activities were carried out by moneylenders and merchants in different parts of the world.

It’s important to note that the banking industry has evolved significantly over time, with the establishment of central banks, commercial banks, and various financial institutions in different countries. The specific designation of the “first bank” can vary depending on the criteria used, such as whether it refers to the first bank in a particular region or the first institution with certain characteristics.