In Northern Italy, a bank accepts collateral for business loans in the form of cheddar. Well, wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano, actually.
Not any regular Joe can deposit his cheese as insurance to Credito Emiliano, however. The offer only stands for dairy farmers, naturally, in the Emilia Romagna region, according to Forbes.
Is it possible that Wallace and Gromit are the secret owners of this bank?
Credem, as the bank is known locally, keeps these wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano in two warehouses with a total capacity of 440,000 80-pound wheels. As all cheese lovers know, the more mature a cheese is, the more valuable it becomes, incidentally similar to an interest-collecting monetary situation.
The bank, which has been doing this since 1953, recently became the focus of a Harvard Business School case study. Nikolaos Trichakis, an assistant professor at the school, tells Forbes that the transaction works in the bank’s favor.
“From the bank’s perspective, it becomes almost risk free,” Trichakis says. “They have the collateral in their possession the whole time it is aging. So the moment they see some issues — like bubbles, for instance — they can say, ‘Oh, that collateral isn’t worth as much as we thought.’ And they can immediately call up the producers and say, ‘Listen, you’re under water here.’”