San Sebastián or Donostia is a coastal city and municipality located in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. It lies on the coast of the Bay of 20 km from the French border; the capital city of Gipuzkoa, the municipality's population is 186,095 as of 2015, with its metropolitan area reaching 436,500 in 2010. Locals call themselves donostiarra, both in Basque; the main economic activities are commerce and tourism, it is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain. Despite the city’s small size, events such as the San Sebastián International Film Festival have given it an international dimension. San Sebastián, along with Wrocław, was the European Capital of Culture in 2016. In spite of appearances, both the Basque form Donostia and the Spanish form San Sebastián have the same meaning of Saint Sebastian; the dona/done/doni element in Basque place-names is derived from Latin domine. There are two hypotheses regarding the evolution of the Basque name: one says it was *Done Sebastiáne > Donasaastiai > Donasastia > Donastia > Donostia, the other one says it was *Done Sebastiane > *Done Sebastiae > *Done Sebastie > *Donesebastia > *Donasastia > *Donastia > Donostia.
The city is located in the north of the Basque Autonomous Community, on the southern coast of the Bay of Biscay. San Sebastián's three picturesque beaches, Concha and Zurriola, make it a popular resort; the town is surrounded by accessible hilly areas: Urgull, Mount Ulia, Mount Adarra and Igeldo. The city sits at the mouth of the River Urumea, Donostia was built to a large extent on the river's wetlands over the last two centuries. In fact, the city centre and the districts of Amara Berri and Riberas de Loiola lie on the former bed of the river, diverted to its current canalized course in the first half of the 20th century. San Sebastián features an oceanic climate with cool winters. Like many cities with this climate, San Sebastián experiences cloudy or overcast conditions for the majority of the year with some precipitation; the city averages 1,650 mm of precipitation annually, evenly spread throughout the year. However, the city is somewhat drier and noticeably sunnier in the summer months, experiencing on average 100 mm of precipitation during those months.
Average temperatures range from 8.9 °C in January to 21.5 °C in August. The first evidence of human stationary presence in the current city is the settlement of Ametzagaña, between South Intxaurrondo and Astigarraga; the unearthed remains, such as carved stone used as knives to cut animal skin, date from 24,000 to 22,000 BC. The open-air findings of the Upper Paleolithic have revealed that the settlers were hunters and Homo sapiens, besides pointing to a much colder climate at the time. San Sebastián is thought to have been in the territory of the Varduli in Roman times. 10 km east of the current city lay the Basque Roman town of Oiasso, for a long time wrongly identified with San Sebastián. After a long period of silence in evidence, in 1014 the monastery of St. Sebastián with its apple orchards, located in the term of Hernani, is donated to the Abbey of Leire by Sancho III of Pamplona. By 1181, the city is chartered by king Sancho VI of Pamplona on the site of Izurum, having jurisdiction over all the territory between the rivers Oria and Bidasoa.
In 1200, the city was conquered by Castile, whose king Alfonso VIII, confirmed its charter, but the Kingdom of Navarre was deprived of its main direct access out to the sea. As soon as 1204, the city nucleus at the foot of Urgull started to be populated with Gascon-speaking colonizers from Bayonne and beyond, who left an important imprint in the city's identity in the centuries to come. In 1265, the use of the city as a seaport is granted to Navarre as part of a wedding pact; the large quantity of Gascons inhabiting the town favoured the development of trade with other European ports and Gascony. The city steered clear of the destructive War of the Bands in Gipuzkoa, the only town in doing so in that territory. In fact, the town only joined Gipuzkoa in 1459. Up to the 16th century, Donostia remained out of wars, but by the beginning of the 15th century, a line of walls of simple construction is attested encircling the town; the last chapter of the town in the Middle Ages was brought about by a fire that devastated Donostia in 1489.
After burning to the ground, the town began a new renaissance by building up with stone instead of bare timber. The advent of the Modern Age brought a period of war for the city. New state boundaries were drawn; the town provided critical naval help to Emperor Charles V during the siege of Hondarribia, which earned the town the titles "Muy Noble y Muy Leal", recorded on its coat of arms. The town aided the monarch by sending a party to the Battle of Noain and providing help to quash the Revolt of the Comuneros in 1521. After these events, who had played a leading role in the political and economic life of the town since its foundation, began to be excluded from influential public positions by means of a string of regional sentences uphe
Valencia València, on the east coast of Spain, is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with around 800,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. Its urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 1.6 million people. Valencia is Spain's third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 million depending on how the metropolitan area is defined. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the busiest container port on the Mediterranean Sea; the city is ranked at Beta-global city in World Cities Research Network. Valencia is integrated into an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony by the consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus in 138 BC, called Valentia Edetanorum. In 714 Moroccan and Arab Moors occupied the city, introducing their language and customs. Valencia was the capital of the Taifa of Valencia.
In 1238 the Christian king James I of Aragon conquered the city and divided the land among the nobles who helped him conquer it, as witnessed in the Llibre del Repartiment. He created a new law for the city, the Furs of Valencia, which were extended to the rest of the Kingdom of Valencia. In the 18th century Philip V of Spain abolished the privileges as punishment to the kingdom of Valencia for aligning with the Habsburg side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Valencia was the capital of Spain when Joseph Bonaparte moved the Court there in the summer of 1812, it served as capital between 1936 and 1937, during the Second Spanish Republic. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea, its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with 169 ha. Due to its long history, this is a city with numerous popular celebrations and traditions, such as the Fallas, which were declared as Fiestas of National Tourist Interest of Spain in 1965 and Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in November 2016.
From 1991 to 2015, Rita Barberá Nolla was the mayor of the city, yet in 2015, Joan Ribó from Coalició Compromís, became mayor. The original Latin name of the city was Valentia, meaning "strength", or "valour", the city being named according to the Roman practice of recognising the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war; the Roman historian Livy explains that the founding of Valentia in the 2nd century BC was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against an Iberian rebel, Viriatus. During the rule of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, it had the nickname Medina at-Tarab according to one transliteration, or Medina at-Turab according to another, since it was located on the banks of the River Turia, it is not clear if the term Balansiyya was reserved for the entire Taifa of Valencia or designated the city. By gradual sound changes, Valentia has in Castilian and València in Valencian. In Valencian, the grave accent ⟨è⟩ /ɛ/ contrasts with the acute accent ⟨é⟩ /e/—but the word València is an exception to this rule.
It is spelled according to Catalan etymology. Valencia stands on the banks of the Turia River, located on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula and the western part of the Mediterranean Sea, fronting the Gulf of Valencia. At its founding by the Romans, it stood on a river island in 6.4 kilometres from the sea. The Albufera, a freshwater lagoon and estuary about 11 km south of the city, is one of the largest lakes in Spain; the City Council bought the lake from the Crown of Spain for 1,072,980 pesetas in 1911, today it forms the main portion of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera, with a surface area of 21,120 hectares. In 1976, because of its cultural and ecological value, the Generalitat Valenciana declared it a natural park. Valencia has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with short mild winters and long and dry summers, its average annual temperature is 18.4 °C. In the coldest month, the maximum temperature during the day ranges from 14 to 21 °C, the minimum temperature at night ranges from 5 to 11 °C.
In the warmest month – August, the maximum temperature during the day ranges from 28–34 °C, about 22 to 23 °C at night. Similar temperatures to those experienced in the northern part of Europe in summer last about 8 months, from April to November. March is transitional, the temperature exceeds 20 °C, with an average temperature of 19.3 °C during the day and 10.0 °C at night. December and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures around 17 °C during the day and 8 °C at night. Valencia has one of the mildest winters in Europe, owing to its southern location on the Mediterranean Sea and the Foehn phenomenon; the January average is comparable to temperatures expected for May and September in the major cities of northern Europe. Sunshine duration hours are 2,696 per year, from 15
An investment bank is a financial services company or corporate division that engages in advisory-based financial transactions on behalf of individuals and governments. Traditionally associated with corporate finance, such a bank might assist in raising financial capital by underwriting or acting as the client's agent in the issuance of securities. An investment bank may assist companies involved in mergers and acquisitions and provide ancillary services such as market making, trading of derivatives and equity securities, FICC services. Most investment banks maintain prime brokerage and asset management departments in conjunction with their investment research businesses; as an industry, it is broken up into the Bulge Bracket, Middle Market, boutique market. Unlike commercial banks and retail banks, investment banks do not take deposits. From the passage of Glass–Steagall Act in 1933 until its repeal in 1999 by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, the United States maintained a separation between investment banking and commercial banks.
Other industrialized countries, including G7 countries, have not maintained such a separation. As part of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the Volcker Rule asserts some institutional separation of investment banking services from commercial banking. All investment banking activity is classed as either "sell side" or "buy side"; the "sell side" involves trading securities for cash or for other securities, or the promotion of securities. The "buy side" involves the provision of advice to institutions. Private equity funds, mutual funds, life insurance companies, unit trusts, hedge funds are the most common types of buy-side entities. An investment bank can be split into private and public functions with a Chinese wall separating the two to prevent information from crossing; the private areas of the bank deal with private insider information that may not be publicly disclosed, while the public areas, such as stock analysis, deal with public information. An advisor who provides investment banking services in the United States must be a licensed broker-dealer and subject to U.
S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority regulation; the Dutch East India Company was the first company to issue bonds and shares of stock to the general public. It was the first publicly traded company, being the first company to be listed on an official stock exchange; the Dutch helped lay the foundations of the modern practice of investment banking. Investment banking has changed over the years, beginning as a partnership firm focused on underwriting security issuance, i.e. initial public offerings and secondary market offerings and mergers and acquisitions, evolving into a "full-service" range including securities research, proprietary trading, investment management. In the 21st century, the SEC filings of the major independent investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley reflect three product segments: investment banking, asset management, trading and principal investments. In the United States, commercial banking and investment banking were separated by the Glass–Steagall Act, repealed in 1999.
The repeal led to more "universal banks" offering an greater range of services. Many large commercial banks have therefore developed investment banking divisions through acquisitions and hiring. Notable large banks with significant investment banks include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Barclays. After the financial crisis of 2007–08 and the subsequent passage of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, regulations have limited certain investment banking operations, notably with the Volcker Rule's restrictions on proprietary trading; the traditional service of underwriting security issues has declined as a percentage of revenue. As far back as 1960, 70% of Merrill Lynch's revenue was derived from transaction commissions while "traditional investment banking" services accounted for 5%. However, Merrill Lynch was a "retail-focused" firm with a large brokerage network. Investment banking is split into front office, middle office, back office activities. While large service investment banks offer all lines of business, both "sell side" and "buy side", smaller sell-side investment firms such as boutique investment banks and small broker-dealers focus on investment banking and sales/trading/research, respectively.
Inns issuing securities and investors buying securities. For corporations, investment bankers offer information on when and how to place their securities on the open market, an activity important to an investment bank's reputation. Therefore, investment bankers play a important role in issuing new security offerings. Front office is described as a revenue-generating role. There are two main areas within front office: investment banking and markets Investment banking involves advising organizations on mergers and acquisitions, as well as a wide array of capital raising strategies. Markets is divided into "sales and trading", "research". Corporate finance is the aspect of investment banks, which involves helping customers raise funds in capital markets and giving advice on mergers and acquisitions
A ticker symbol or stock symbol is an abbreviation used to uniquely identify publicly traded shares of a particular stock on a particular stock market. A stock symbol may consist of numbers or a combination of both. "Ticker symbol" refers to the symbols. Stock symbols are unique identifiers assigned to each security traded on a particular market. A stock symbol can consist of letters, numbers, or a combination of both, is a way to uniquely identify that stock; the symbols were kept as short as possible to reduce the number of characters that had to be printed on the ticker tape, to make it easy to recognize by traders and investors. The allocation of symbols and formatting convention is specific to each stock exchange. In the US, for example, stock tickers are between 1 and 4 letters and represent the company name where possible. For example, US-based computer company stock Apple Inc. traded on the NASDAQ exchange has the symbol AAPL, while the motor company Ford's stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange has the single-letter ticker F.
In Europe, most exchanges use three-letter codes, for example Dutch consumer goods company Unilever traded on the Amsterdam Euronext exchange has the symbol UNA. While in Asia, numbers are used as stock tickers to avoid issues for international investors when using non-Latin scripts. For example, the bank HSBC's stock traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has the ticker symbol 0005. Symbols sometimes change to reflect mergers. Prior to the 1999 merger with Mobil Oil, Exxon used a phonetic spelling of the company "XON" as its ticker symbol; the symbol of the firm after the merger was "XOM". Symbols are sometimes reused. In the US the single-letter symbols are sought after as vanity symbols. For example, since Mar 2008 Visa Inc. has used the symbol V, used by Vivendi which had delisted and given up the symbol. To qualify a stock, both the ticker and the exchange or country of listing needs to be known. On many systems both must be specified to uniquely identify the security; this is done by appending the location or exchange code to the ticker.
Although stock tickers identify a security, they are exchange dependent limited to stocks and can change. These limitations have led to the development of other codes in financial markets to identify securities for settlement purposes; the most prevalent of these is the International Securities Identifying Number. An ISIN uniquely identifies a security and its structure is defined in ISO 6166. Securities for which ISINs are issued include bonds, commercial paper and warrants; the ISIN code is a 12-character alpha-numerical code that does not contain information characterizing financial instruments, but serves for uniform identification of a security at trading and settlement. The ISIN identifies not the exchange on which it trades. For instance, Daimler AG stock trades on twenty-two different stock exchanges worldwide, is priced in five different currencies. ISIN cannot specify a particular trade in this case, another identifier the three- or four-letter exchange code will have to be specified in addition to the ISIN.
While a stock ticker identifies a security that can be traded, stock market indices are sometimes assigned a symbol though they can not be traded. Symbols for indices are distinguished by adding a symbol in front of the name, such as a caret or a dot. For example, Reuters lists the Nasdaq Composite index under the symbol. IXIC. In Canada the Toronto Stock Exchange TSX and the TSXV use the following special codes after the ticker symbol: In the United Kingdom, prior to 1996, stock codes were known as EPICs, named after the London Stock Exchange's Exchange Price Information Computer. Following the introduction of the Sequence trading platform in 1996, EPICs were renamed Tradable Instrument Display Mnemonics, but they are still referred to as EPICs. Stocks can be identified using their SEDOL number or their ISIN. In the United States, modern letter-only ticker symbols were developed by Standard & Poor's to bring a national standard to investing. A single company could have many different ticker symbols as they varied between the dozens of individual stock markets.
The term ticker refers to the noise made by the ticker tape machines once used by stock exchanges. The S&P system was standardized by the securities industry and modified as years passed. Stock symbols for preferred stock have not been standardized; some companies use a well-known product as their ticker symbol. Belgian brewer InBev, the brewer of Budweiser beer, uses "BUD" as its three-letter ticker for American Depository Receipts, symbolizing its premier product in the United States, its rival, Molson Coors Brewing Company, uses a beer-related symbol, "TAP". Southwest Airlines pays tribute to its headquarters at Love Field in Dallas through its "LUV" symbol. Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which operates large amusement parks in the United States, uses "FUN" as its symbol. Harley-Davidson uses "HOG" for its Harley Owners Group. Yamana Gold uses "AUY", because on the periodic table of elements. Sotheby's uses the symbol "BID". While most symbols come from the company's name, sometimes it happens the other way around.
Tricon Global, owner of KFC, Pi
A public company, publicly traded company, publicly held company, publicly listed company, or public limited company is a corporation whose ownership is dispersed among the general public in many shares of stock which are traded on a stock exchange or in over the counter markets. In some jurisdictions, public companies over a certain size must be listed on an exchange. A public company can be unlisted. Public companies are formed within the legal systems of particular nations, therefore have national associations and formal designations which are distinct and separate. For example one of the main public company forms in the United States is called a limited liability company, in France is called a "society of limited responsibility", in Britain a public limited company, in Germany a company with limited liability. While the general idea of a public company may be similar, differences are meaningful, are at the core of international law disputes with regard to industry and trade. In the early modern period, the Dutch developed several financial instruments and helped lay the foundations of modern financial system.
The Dutch East India Company became the first company in history to issue bonds and shares of stock to the general public. In other words, the VOC was the first publicly traded company, because it was the first company to be actually listed on an official stock exchange. While the Italian city-states produced the first transferable government bonds, they did not develop the other ingredient necessary to produce a fledged capital market: corporate shareholders; as Edward Stringham notes, "companies with transferable shares date back to classical Rome, but these were not enduring endeavors and no considerable secondary market existed." The securities of a publicly traded company are owned by many investors while the shares of a held company are owned by few shareholders. A company with many shareholders is not a publicly traded company. In the United States, in some instances, companies with over 500 shareholders may be required to report under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Public companies possess some advantages over held businesses.
Publicly traded companies are able to raise funds and capital through the sale of shares of stock. This is the reason publicly traded corporations are important; the profit on stock is gained in form of capital gain to the holders. The financial media and the public are able to access additional information about the business, since the business is legally bound, motivated, to publicly disseminate information regarding the financial status and future of the company to its many shareholders and the government; because many people have a vested interest in the company's success, the company may be more popular or recognizable than a private company. The initial shareholders of the company are able to share risk by selling shares to the public. If one were to hold a 100% share of the company, he or she would have to pay all of the business's debt; this increases asset liquidity and the company does not need to depend on funding from a bank. For example, in 2013 Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg owned 29.3% of the company's class A shares, which gave him enough voting power to control the business, while allowing Facebook to raise capital from, distribute risk to, the remaining shareholders.
Facebook was a held company prior to its initial public offering in 2012. If some shares are given to managers or other employees, potential conflicts of interest between employees and shareholders will be remitted; as an example, in many tech companies, entry-level software engineers are given stock in the company upon being hired. Therefore, the engineers have a vested interest in the company succeeding financially, are incentivized to work harder and more diligently to ensure that success. Many stock exchanges require that publicly traded companies have their accounts audited by outside auditors, publish the accounts to their shareholders. Besides the cost, this may make useful information available to competitors. Various other annual and quarterly reports are required by law. In the United States, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act imposes additional requirements; the requirement for audited books is not imposed by the exchange known as OTC Pink. The shares may be maliciously held by outside shareholders and the original founders or owners may lose benefits and control.
The principal-agent problem, or the agency problem is a key weakness of public companies. The separation of a company's ownership and control is prevalent in such countries as U. K and U. S. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires that firms whose stock is traded publicly report their major shareholders each year; the reports identify all institutional shareholders, all company officials who own shares in their firm, any individual or institution owning more than 5% of the firm's stock. For many years, newly created companies were held but held initial
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit. Lending activities can be performed either indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords. Banking in its modern sense evolved in the 14th century in the prosperous cities of Renaissance Italy but in many ways was a continuation of ideas and concepts of credit and lending that had their roots in the ancient world. In the history of banking, a number of banking dynasties – notably, the Medicis, the Fuggers, the Welsers, the Berenbergs, the Rothschilds – have played a central role over many centuries.
The oldest existing retail bank is Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, while the oldest existing merchant bank is Berenberg Bank. The concept of banking may have begun in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, with merchants offering loans of grain as collateral within a barter system. Lenders in ancient Greece and during the Roman Empire added two important innovations: they accepted deposits and changed money. Archaeology from this period in ancient China and India shows evidence of money lending. More modern banking can be traced to medieval and early Renaissance Italy, to the rich cities in the centre and north like Florence, Siena and Genoa; the Bardi and Peruzzi families dominated banking in 14th-century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe. One of the most famous Italian banks was the Medici Bank, set up by Giovanni di Bicci de' Medici in 1397; the earliest known state deposit bank, Banco di San Giorgio, was founded in 1407 at Italy. Modern banking practices, including fractional reserve banking and the issue of banknotes, emerged in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Merchants started to store their gold with the goldsmiths of London, who possessed private vaults, charged a fee for that service. In exchange for each deposit of precious metal, the goldsmiths issued receipts certifying the quantity and purity of the metal they held as a bailee; the goldsmiths began to lend the money out on behalf of the depositor, which led to the development of modern banking practices. The goldsmith paid interest on these deposits. Since the promissory notes were payable on demand, the advances to the goldsmith's customers were repayable over a longer time period, this was an early form of fractional reserve banking; the promissory notes developed into an assignable instrument which could circulate as a safe and convenient form of money backed by the goldsmith's promise to pay, allowing goldsmiths to advance loans with little risk of default. Thus, the goldsmiths of London became the forerunners of banking by creating new money based on credit; the Bank of England was the first to begin the permanent issue of banknotes, in 1695.
The Royal Bank of Scotland established the first overdraft facility in 1728. By the beginning of the 19th century a bankers' clearing house was established in London to allow multiple banks to clear transactions; the Rothschilds pioneered international finance on a large scale, financing the purchase of the Suez canal for the British government. The word bank was taken Middle English from Middle French banque, from Old Italian banco, meaning "table", from Old High German banc, bank "bench, counter". Benches were used as makeshift desks or exchange counters during the Renaissance by Jewish Florentine bankers, who used to make their transactions atop desks covered by green tablecloths; the definition of a bank varies from country to country. See the relevant country pages under for more information. Under English common law, a banker is defined as a person who carries on the business of banking by conducting current accounts for his customers, paying cheques drawn on him/her and collecting cheques for his/her customers.
In most common law jurisdictions there is a Bills of Exchange Act that codifies the law in relation to negotiable instruments, including cheques, this Act contains a statutory definition of the term banker: banker includes a body of persons, whether incorporated or not, who carry on the business of banking'. Although this definition seems circular, it is functional, because it ensures that the legal basis for bank transactions such as cheques does not depend on how the bank is structured or regulated; the business of banking is in many English common law countries not defined by statute but by common law, the definition above. In other English common law jurisdictions there are statutory definitions of the business of banking or banking business; when looking at these definitions it is important to keep in mind that they are defining the business of banking for the purposes of the legislation, not in general. In particular, most of the definitions are from legislation that has the purpose of regulating and supervising banks rather than regulating the actual business of banking.
However, in many cases the statutory definition mirrors the common law one. Examples of statutory definitions: "banking business" means the business of receiving money on current or deposit account and collecting cheques drawn by or paid in by customers, the making