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This Italian Bank Accepts Parmigiano Cheese as Loan Collateral!

It is well-known that Italians are very proud of their culture, so it is no surprise that Credito Emiliano, a bank based in Reggio Emilia, Italy, accepts Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels as collateral for small business loans!

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Credito Emiliano (abbreviated as CredEm), grants loans to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheesemakers and holds the coveted (and expensive!) cheese as collateral for the loans.

As if this wasn't crazy enough, CredEm has their own Parmigiano-Reggiano aging warehouse where the collateral cheese matures during the duration of the loan. It is important that the cheese is stored in a proper aging environment, or else it can lose its value. At any time, this warehouse is filled with thousands and thousands of Parmigiano-Reggiano wheels! The 300,000+ wheels of cheese in the warehouse are worth over $174 million!

In an April 14, 2017 video, Fausto Filippi, a banker at CredEm, told Great Big Story: "We are a traditional bank, and we are also a bank active in supporting Parmigiano-Reggiano producers". Parmigiano-Reggiano is the perfect collateral for loans given to cheesemakers and dairy farmers for many reasons: it is a typical product unique to the Reggio Emilia area, it is expensive, and it needs to be aged for 18-36 months, making it a safe long term investment for CredEm.

Roberto Frignani, the director of the CredEm cheese warehouse, told Great Big Story, “We take care of the cheese on behalf of the clients...we protect the producer’s investment basically from the cow to the bank."

Now it is easy to see where the slang term cheese, used to describe money, came from!

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