The yen is the official currency of Japan. It is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the United States dollar and the euro, it is widely used as a reserve currency after the U. S. dollar, the euro, the pound sterling. The concept of the yen was a component of the Meiji government's modernization program of Japan's economy. Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan's feudal fiefs all issued their own money, hansatsu, in an array of incompatible denominations; the New Currency Act of 1871 did away with these and established the yen, defined as 1.5 g of gold, or 24.26 g of silver, as the new decimal currency. The former han became prefectures and their mints private chartered banks, which retained the right to print money. To bring an end to this situation the Bank of Japan was founded in 1882 and given a monopoly on controlling the money supply. Following World War II the yen lost much of its prewar value. To stabilize the Japanese economy the exchange rate of the yen was fixed at ¥360 per $1 as part of the Bretton Woods system.
When that system was abandoned in 1971, the yen was allowed to float. The yen had appreciated to a peak of ¥271 per $1 in 1973 underwent periods of depreciation and appreciation due to the 1973 oil crisis, arriving at a value of ¥227 per $1 by 1980. Since 1973, the Japanese government has maintained a policy of currency intervention, the yen is therefore under a "dirty float" regime; this intervention continues to this day. The Japanese government focuses on a competitive export market, tries to ensure a low yen value through a trade surplus; the Plaza Accord of 1985 temporarily changed this situation from its average of ¥239 per US$1 in 1985 to ¥128 in 1988 and led to a peak value of ¥80 against the U. S. dollar in 1995 increasing the value of Japan’s GDP to that of the United States. Since that time, the yen has decreased in value; the Bank of Japan maintains a policy of zero to near-zero interest rates and the Japanese government has had a strict anti-inflation policy. Yen derives from the Japanese word 圓, which borrows its phonetic reading from Chinese yuan, similar to North Korean won and South Korean won.
The Chinese had traded silver in mass called sycees and when Spanish and Mexican silver coins arrived, the Chinese called them "silver rounds" for their circular shapes. The coins and the name appeared in Japan. While the Chinese replaced 圓 with 元, the Japanese continued to use the same word, given the shinjitai form 円 in reforms at the end of World War II; the spelling and pronunciation "yen" is standard in English. This is because when Japan was first encountered by Europeans around the 16th century, Japanese /e/ and /we/ both had been pronounced and Portuguese missionaries had spelled them "ye"; some time thereafter, by the middle of the 18th century, /e/ and /we/ came to be pronounced as in modern Japanese, although some regions retain the pronunciation. Walter Henry Medhurst, who had neither been to Japan nor met any Japanese, having consulted a Japanese-Dutch dictionary, spelled some "e"s as "ye" in his An English and Japanese, Japanese and English Vocabulary. In the early Meiji era, James Curtis Hepburn, following Medhurst, spelled all "e"s as "ye" in his A Japanese and English dictionary.
That was the first full-scale Japanese-English/English-Japanese dictionary, which had a strong influence on Westerners in Japan and prompted the spelling "yen". Hepburn revised most "ye"s to "e" in the 3rd edition in order to mirror the contemporary pronunciation, except "yen"; this was already fixed and has remained so since. In the 19th century, silver Spanish dollar coins were common throughout Southeast Asia, the China coast, Japan; these coins had been introduced through Manila over a period of two hundred and fifty years, arriving on ships from Acapulco in Mexico. These ships were known as the Manila galleons; until the 19th century, these silver dollar coins were actual Spanish dollars minted in the new world at Mexico City. But from the 1840s, they were replaced by silver dollars of the new Latin American republics. In the half of the 19th century, some local coins in the region were made in the resemblance of the Mexican peso; the first of these local silver coins was the Hong Kong silver dollar coin, minted in Hong Kong between the years 1866 and 1869.
The Chinese were slow to accept unfamiliar coinage and preferred the familiar Mexican dollars, so the Hong Kong government ceased minting these coins and sold the mint machinery to Japan. The Japanese decided to adopt a silver dollar coinage under the name of'yen', meaning'a round object'; the yen was adopted by the Meiji government in an Act signed on June 27, 1871. The new currency was introduced beginning from July of that year; the yen was therefore a dollar unit, like all dollars, descended from the Spanish Pieces of eight, up until the year 1873, all the dollars in the world had more or less the same value. The yen replaced a complex monetary system of the Edo period based on the mon.. The New Currency Act of 1871, stipulated the adoption of the decimal accounting system of yen and rin, with the coins being round and manufactured using Western machinery; the yen
Akio Morita was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony along with Masaru Ibuka. Akio Morita was born in Nagoya, Japan. Morita's family was involved in sake and soy sauce production in the village of Kosugaya on the western coast of Chita Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture since 1665, he was the oldest of four siblings and his father Kyuzaemon trained him as a child to take over the family business. Akio, found his true calling in mathematics and physics, in 1944 he graduated from Osaka Imperial University with a degree in physics, he was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant in the Imperial Japanese Navy, served in World War II. During his service, Morita met his future business partner Masaru Ibuka in the Navy's Wartime Research Committee. On May 7, 1946, Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha with about 20 employees and initial capital of ¥190,000. Ibuka was 38 years old. Morita, 25 years old joined Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha shortly after its inception, with Morita's family investing in Sony during the early period and being the largest shareholder.
In 1949, the company developed magnetic recording tape and in 1950, sold the first tape recorder in Japan. In 1957, it produced a pocket-sized radio, in 1958, Morita and Ibuka decided to rename their company Sony. Morita was an advocate for all the products made by Sony. However, since the radio was too big to fit in a shirt pocket, Morita made his employees wear shirts with larger pockets to give the radio a "pocket sized" appearance. In 1960, it produced the first transistor television in the world. In 1973, Sony received an Emmy Award for its Trinitron television-set technology. In 1975, it released the first Betamax home video recorder, a year. In 1979, the Walkman was introduced. In 1984, Sony launched the Discman series which extended their Walkman brand to portable CD products. In 1960, the Sony Corporation of America was established in the United States. In 1961, Sony Corporation was the first Japanese company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in the form of American depositary receipts, which are traded over-the-counter.
Sony bought CBS Records Group which consisted of Columbia Records, Epic Records and other CBS labels in 1988 and Columbia Pictures Entertainment in 1989. On November 25, 1994, Morita stepped down as Sony chairman after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while playing tennis, he was succeeded by Norio Ohga, who had joined the company in the 1950s after sending Morita a letter denouncing the poor quality of the company's tape recorders. Morita was vice chairman of the Japan Business Federation, was a member of the Japan-U. S. Economic Relations Group known as the "Wise Men's Group", he was the third Japanese chairman of the Trilateral Commission. His amateur radio call sign is JP1DPJ. In 1966, Morita wrote a book called Gakureki Muyō Ron, where he stresses that school records are not important to success or one's business skills. In 1986, Morita wrote an autobiography titled Made in Japan, he co-authored the 1991 book The Japan That Can Say No with politician Shintaro Ishihara, where they criticized American business practices and encouraged Japanese to take a more independent role in business and foreign affairs.
The book was translated into English and caused controversy in the United States, Morita had his chapters removed from the English version and distanced himself from the book. Morita was awarded the Albert Medal by the United Kingdom's Royal Society of Arts in 1982, the first Japanese to receive the honor. Two years he received the prestigious Legion of Honour, in 1991, was awarded the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan. In 1993, he was awarded an honorary British knighthood. Morita received the International Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from the University of Manitoba in 1987, he was posthumously awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 1999. Morita suffered a stroke during a game of tennis. On November 25, 1994, he stepped down as Sony chairman. On October 3, 1999, Morita died of pneumonia at the age of 78. Morita, Akio. Made in Japan Morita, Akio. Never Mind School Records Morita and Shintaro Ishihara; the Japan That Can Say No List of books authored by Akio Morita at WorldCat Quotations related to Akio Morita at Wikiquote Media related to Sony at Wikimedia Commons Akio Morita Library Time magazine, AKIO MORITA: Guru Of Gadgets Time Asia, Time 100: Akio Morita Sony Biographical notes PBS notes Full Biography at World of Biography
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC is a multinational video game and digital entertainment company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the central hub for the American businesses under the Japanese conglomerate Sony Corporation. The company was founded in Tokyo and established on November 16, 1993, as Sony Computer Entertainment, to handle Sony's venture into video game development through its PlayStation brand. Since the successful launch of the original PlayStation console in 1994, the company has been developing the PlayStation lineup of home video game consoles and accessories. Expanding into North America and other countries, the company became Sony's main resource for research and development in video games and interactive entertainment. In April 2016, SCE and Sony Network Entertainment International was restructured and reorganized into Sony Interactive Entertainment, carrying over the operations and primary objectives from both companies; the same year, SIE moved its headquarters from Tokyo to California.
Sony Interactive Entertainment handles the research and development and sales of both hardware and software for the PlayStation video game systems. SIE is a developer and publisher of video game titles, operates several subsidiaries in Sony's largest markets: North America and Asia. By August 2018, the company had sold more than 525 million PlayStation consoles worldwide. Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. was jointly established by Sony and its subsidiary Sony Music Entertainment Japan in 1993 to handle the company's ventures into the video game industry. The original PlayStation console was released on December 1994, in Japan; the company's North American operations, Sony Computer Entertainment of America, were established in May 1995 as a division of Sony Electronic Publishing. Located in Foster City, the North American office was headed by Steve Race. In the months prior to the release of the PlayStation in Western markets, the operations were restructured: All video game marketing from Sony Imagesoft was folded into SCEA in July 1995, with most affected employees transferred from Santa Monica to Foster City.
On August 7, 1995, Race unexpectedly resigned and was named CEO of Spectrum HoloByte three days later. He was replaced by Sony Electronics veteran Martin Homlish; this proved to be the beginning of a run of exceptional managerial turnover, with SCEA going through four presidents in a single year. The PS console was released in the United States on September 9, 1995; as part of a worldwide restructuring at the beginning of 1997, SCEA and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe were both re-established as wholly owned subsidiaries of SCEI. The launch of the second PS console, the PlayStation 2 was released in Japan on March 4, 2000, the U. S. on October 26, 2000. On July 1, 2002, chairman of SCEI, Shigeo Maruyama, was replaced by Tamotsu Iba as chairman. Jack Tretton and Phil Harrison were promoted to senior vice presidents of SCE; the PlayStation Portable was SCEI's first foray into the small handheld console market. Its development was first announced during SCE's E3 conference in 2003, it was unveiled during their E3 conference on May 11, 2004.
The system was released in Japan on December 12, 2004, in North America on March 24, 2005, in Europe and Australia on September 1, 2005. On September 14, 2005, SCEI formed Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, a single internal entity to oversee all wholly owned development studios within SCEI, it became responsible for the creative and strategic direction of development and production of all computer entertainment software by all SCEI-owned studios—all software is produced for the PS family of consoles. Shuhei Yoshida was named as President of SCE WWS on May 16, 2008, replacing Kazuo Hirai, serving interim after Harrison left the company in early 2008. On December 8, 2005, video game developer Guerrilla Games, developers of the Killzone series, was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of its SCE WWS. On January 24, 2006, video game developer Zipper Interactive, developers of the Socom series, was acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of its SCE WWS. In March 2006, Sony announced the online network for its forthcoming PlayStation 3 system at the 2006 PlayStation Business Briefing meeting in Tokyo, tentatively named "PlayStation Network Platform" and called just PlayStation Network.
Sony stated that the service would always be connected and include multiplayer support. The launch date for the PS3 was announced by Hirai at the pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo conference held at the Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, California, on May 8, 2006; the PS3 was released in Japan on November 11, 2006, the U. S. date was November 17, 2006. The PSN was launched in November 2006. On November 30, 2006, president of SCEI, Ken Kutaragi, was appointed as chairman of SCEI, while Hirai president of SCEA, was promoted to president of SCEI. On April 26, 2007, Ken Kutaragi resigned from his position as chairman of SCEI and group CEO, passing on his duties to the appointed president of SCE, Hirai. On September 20, 2007, video game developers Evolution Studios and Bigbig Studios, creators of the MotorStorm series, were acquired by Sony Computer Entertainment as part of its SCE WWS. On April 15, 2009, David Reeves, president and CEO of SCE Europe, announced his forthcoming resignation from his post.
He had joined the company in 1995 and was appointed as chairman of SCEE in 2003, president in 2005. His role of president and CEO of SCEE would be taken over by Andrew House, who joined Sony Corporation in 1990; the PSP Go was released on October 1
CEB, a subsidiary of Gartner, was a global best practice insights and technology company providing products and services to business leaders in IT, finance, HR, customer service and support and compliance, marketing and supply chain functions worldwide. Gartner announced its acquisition of CEB in January 2017, completed the acquisition in April 2017, integrated the company in July 2018. CEB offered its first program to executives, the Council on Financial Competition, in 1983 when it was part of The Advisory Board Company. In 1997, the company opened a new office in London. CEB went public in 1999 on the NASDAQ exchange under the leadership of James J. McGonigle, the company's General Manager from 1995-1999, Chairman and CEO from 1999 to 2005. Tom Monahan was appointed CEO in 2005. At that time, the company expanded offerings to accommodate middle market companies. In 2007, the company opened offices in San Francisco and Chicago; the company left Washington, D. C. in 2008 to move its global headquarters to the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia.
In May 2015, the company changed its legal name to "CEB Inc." The company had over 50 offices globally. In 2009, CEB acquired the financial services firm, TowerGroup. In May 2010, the company acquired advisory company, Iconoculture; that year, CEB transferred listing of its common stock from NASDAQ to the NYSE, began trading on 20 August 2010. The company acquired Baumgartner & Partner, a Germany-based consulting firm in October 2011. In July 2012 CEB acquired Holdsworth Ltd.. In March 2014, CEB acquired KnowledgeAdvisors. In September 2015, it integrated WANTED Technologies. In May 2016, CEB acquired Inc. for $275 million. Evanta is based in Portland and provides events and information offerings to train IT-security, human-resources and finance staff in collaboration and best practices. On January 5, 2017 Gartner said it agreed to buy research and advisory company CEB Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth $2.6 billion, expanding Gartner into a wider range of industries. The acquisition was concluded in April 2017.
On July 16, 2018, the CEB brand was discontinued. The company has published three books through Portfolio/Penguin; the Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon was published on November 10, 2011. In 2013, Matthew Dixon with Nick Toman, Rick DeLisi wrote The Effortless Experience, published on September 12; the third book, The Challenger Customer was written by Matthew Dixon, Brent Adamson, Nick Toman, Patrick Spenner and published on September 8, 2015. CEB's IPO occurred February 22, 1999 at an offer price of $19; the company on NASDAQ, entered into an alliance with NYSE Euronext in 2010 and began trading as CEB in 2012. Gartner The Challenger Sale
Sony Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Tokyo. Its diversified business includes consumer and professional electronics, gaming and financial services; the company owns the largest music entertainment business in the world, the largest video game console business and one of the largest video game publishing businesses, is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets, a leading player in the film and television entertainment industry. Sony was ranked 97th on the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list. Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group, engaged in business through its four operating components: electronics, motion pictures and financial services; these make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. The group consists of Sony Corporation, Sony Pictures, Sony Mobile, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Music, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Financial Holdings, others.
Sony is among the semiconductor sales leaders and since 2015, the fifth-largest television manufacturer in the world after Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, TCL and Hisense. The company's current slogan is Be Moved, their former slogans were The One and Only, It's like.no.other and make.believe. Sony has a weak tie to the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group corporate group, the successor to the Mitsui group. Sony began in the wake of World War II. In 1946, Masaru Ibuka started an electronics shop in a department store building in Tokyo; the company started with a total of eight employees. In May 1946, Ibuka was joined by Akio Morita to establish a company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo; the company built Japan's first tape recorder, called the Type-G. In 1958, the company changed its name to "Sony"; when Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was looking for a romanized name to use to market themselves, they considered using their initials, TTK. The primary reason they did not is that the railway company Tokyo Kyuko was known as TTK.
The company used the acronym "Totsuko" in Japan, but during his visit to the United States, Morita discovered that Americans had trouble pronouncing that name. Another early name, tried out for a while was "Tokyo Teletech" until Akio Morita discovered that there was an American company using Teletech as a brand name; the name "Sony" was chosen for the brand as a mix of two words: one was the Latin word "sonus", the root of sonic and sound, the other was "sonny", a common slang term used in 1950s America to call a young boy. In 1950s Japan, "sonny boys" was a loan word in Japanese, which connoted smart and presentable young men, which Sony founders Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka considered themselves to be; the first Sony-branded product, the TR-55 transistor radio, appeared in 1955 but the company name did not change to Sony until January 1958. At the time of the change, it was unusual for a Japanese company to use Roman letters to spell its name instead of writing it in kanji; the move was not without opposition: TTK's principal bank at the time, had strong feelings about the name.
They pushed for a name such as Sony Teletech. Akio Morita was firm, however. Both Ibuka and Mitsui Bank's chairman gave their approval. According to Schiffer, Sony's TR-63 radio "cracked open the U. S. market and launched the new industry of consumer microelectronics." By the mid-1950s, American teens had begun buying portable transistor radios in huge numbers, helping to propel the fledgling industry from an estimated 100,000 units in 1955 to 5 million units by the end of 1968. Sony co-founder Akio Morita founded Sony Corporation of America in 1960. In the process, he was struck by the mobility of employees between American companies, unheard of in Japan at that time; when he returned to Japan, he encouraged experienced, middle-aged employees of other companies to reevaluate their careers and consider joining Sony. The company filled many positions in this manner, inspired other Japanese companies to do the same. Moreover, Sony played a major role in the development of Japan as a powerful exporter during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
It helped to improve American perceptions of "made in Japan" products. Known for its production quality, Sony was able to charge above-market prices for its consumer electronics and resisted lowering prices. In 1971, Masaru Ibuka handed the position of president over to his co-founder Akio Morita. Sony began a life insurance company in one of its many peripheral businesses. Amid a global recession in the early 1980s, electronics sales dropped and the company was forced to cut prices. Sony's profits fell sharply. "It's over for Sony," one analyst concluded. "The company's best days are behind it." Around that time, Norio Ohga took up the role of president. He encouraged the development of the Compact Disc in the 1970s and 1980s, of the PlayStation in the early 1990s. Ohga went on to purchase CBS Records in 1988 and Columbia Pictures in 1989 expanding Sony's media presence. Ohga would succeed Morita as chief executive officer in 1989. Under the vision of co-founder Akio Morita and his successors, the company had aggressively expanded in
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
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