Money makes the world go round. Mostly copper is the coin of choice and silver to the lucky few. Fewer still are those who wander around with sacks of gold. Whether lowly copper or glimmering jewels, one needs a place to put it… that’s where the banking houses come in.
While a small town might have a bank, more like a storehouse for valuables or a savings and loan, the banking houses have multiple locations around the known world. They use their vast wealth to back expeditions, sway politics in their favor, and even hire mercenaries. Kingdoms can and do take out loans from these multi-national banking organizations from time to time and the futures they trade earn great dividends. They have their fingers in everything from staples like four, sugar, rice, and barley to construction materials like timber and brick, to luxury items like cut gems and estate properties. Banking Houses wield much power. So much so that sometimes, they get in each other’s way. When this happens, wagers are made and pawns are placed against one another to decide the outcome of the banks’ struggle.
There are three banking houses that are world renowned. These are, in no particular order, Sharpe and Sharpe, Hawthorne Banking house (or Hawthorne Trust), and Tamar and Solis. The latter of these is the most unconventional. A Gnome and a Goblin founded a banking house… sounds like the start of a joke, but this successful Banking House is a favorite among merchants. It’s interest rates are fair and it’s holdings are varied and spread widely over the globe. The Hawthorne Trust was founded by an Elf hundreds of years ago and he still runs the organization though few have met him. They finance industry, exploration, and invention and their slogan is “The Banking House Of Heroes and Legends” They have backed many famous expeditions into the under-cities of the world. Finally, the Sharpe Brothers are actually descendants of the original Sharpes. Always run by twin brothers of the Sharpe Family line, the banking house of Sharpe and Sharpe is a highly reputable and oddly forgiving banking house. Loans provided are usually for housing and individuals in major cities will often have a Sharpe and Sharpe account. They are so respected, in fact, that in Tilandsia and in Lowen, letters of Mark from the house are able to be spent as though they were currency.
Sharpe and Sharpe is based in Tilandsia. The Hawthorne Trust is headquartered in Sindora Anchorage. Tamar and Solis has their headquarters located overseas outside of Oshica and is the only bank with branches in the Many Kings islands.
Money Lenders are not banks. Money lenders are usually private individuals or smaller organizations that will make relatively small loans to individuals and businesses with collateral. They have been known to provide mortgages as well, but it is never a good idea to get a mortgage from a money lender… they’ll end up owning your house or business. Many money lenders are legitimate, but far too many are associated with organized criminal factions in a given city. That being said, when a merchant won’t buy your dungeon bauble, a money lender might take it as payment or might have an idea who would buy it and they would receive a “finder’s fee” for the service.