At a certain point of success, merchants and adventurers alike discover that they have more money than can be conveniently (or safely) carried on their person, or that can reasonably be spent on goods and equipment. Individuals and organizations can collect and guard their own money in vaults, but many also choose to place at least some (or most) of their money in a bank, or choose to use some form of promissory note or cheque to move large sums of cash more easily and with less risk. Travellers are also often forced to change the coins of one realm for the coins of another, due to disagreements between rulers as well as a form of quality assurance. Only Dwimmervolk specie and the “Temple Coin” of the Church of the Lords of Light regularly escapes this – and then only if clean and whole for the large part.
Moneychangers: Not banks in any real sense, though they often have close ties to a Merchant House Bank, moneylenders are found in towns and cities if they do not have bank of some sort. For those that are strongly associated with a Merchant House, individuals with an account at a related Merchant House Bank may get “Merchant House rates” on fees and the like. They are businesses that generally deal only in changing coins, buying and selling gems and jewelry, and cashing Cheques. Regular moneychangers will generally charge a 20% fee to change money (though often only 10% to cash Cheques), and will only offer roughly 30% of the value for Gems, and rarely more than 10-20% of the value of Jewelry. They will write promissory notes for around 10-15% fee, and offer loans that usually start at around a 50% interest rate and can go as high as 500%. Cheque clearing is usually short, commonly at least a day or two, for large amounts perhaps a week or two, these can double or triple at the least with little difficulty depending upon circumstances. They are usually limited to transactions of no more than 500 Silver Pieces, and they rarely have reserves past around the 5000 Silver mark on-hand. Many moneylenders also have some capacity for the storage of goods in vaults – though the availability and cost is highly dependent on the moneylender in question.
Temple Bank: Run by Church of the Lords of Light. These have no minimum initial amount or minimum balance amount. They are not individual, but group-based. Usually around a family, or Chapterhouse, or organization. Will issue Traveller Cheques and some trusted individuals will also be allowed to utilize Account Cheques that draw upon the entire account (for a 5% Fee). It also has a system for “allowances” that allows individuals to draw on the account rather than having access to the full amount of the deposits. Works strictly with cash and is only available to members of the Society of Light. No Fees, will change money for a fee of 5% (including Traveller Cheques from other Merchant or Dwimmervolk Banks), though the fees for changing gems and jewelry are often higher than other sources (only 20% of value given for Gems and 10% for Jewelry). The Temple Bank does not offer loans, though it will act as a broker between families and organizations for those seeking one (interest rates are usually between 10-25%). Cheque clearing can take variable amount of times, usually at least a day or two, for large amounts perhaps a week or two, and for incredibly large amounts it could take a month or two. Factors are provided to handle the taxes and keep the appropriate papers straight (10% of the taxes or fees). Coin issued is in local or Temple coinage. The accounts are tracked by Ledger kept by the Temple Bank, with verification by voucher (personal or passport) and magic (Zone of Truth).
Merchant <HOUSE> Bank: Usually an initial 500 Silver in an initial deposit, with a minimum balance of 100sp . Commonly used by merchant families, but also used by minor nobility and other wealthy individuals. Will issue Traveller Cheques (for a 10% Fee). Works in cash, and will also accept other goods and valuables – usually giving 25-50% of the value, though large bulk of common goods can lower this to as low as 5-10%. Will change money for a fee of ~5% for account holders (this is quadrupled for Traveller Cheques for most other House Banks, and certainly for Temple Banks, and Dwimmervolk Banks). Will offer loans to account holders, with interest rates generally anywhere between 50-100%, though rarely for any amount larger than a quarter of the amount on deposit without some significant collateral. Cheque clearing is usually short, commonly at least a day or two, for large amounts perhaps a week or two, these can double or triple at the least for other House Banks. Factors can be hired locally to handle the taxes and keep the appropriate papers straight (usually for around 10% of the tax costs). Coin issued is in local coinage unless alternate arrangements are made (usually for a 10% fee). The account is tracked in a dual system by a Pass Book carried by the Account Holder and a Ledger Book kept by the Merchant House. Verification is by passport, quite possibly with some form of magical confirmation depending upon the sums involved.
Mages Guild Bank: Usually an initial 100 Silver in deposits, with a minimum balance of 50 silver (x10 for non-Guild members). Only deals with individual accounts. Will issue Travellers Cheques (10% Fee, doubled for non-Guild members) and provides a Debit Seal that works as a “Debit Card” in those establishments that accepts them. Works in cash, will also accept gems and jewelry and most forms of magic (usually grant 50-75of the value, half that for non-Guild Members). Does not change money per se, and loans are offered with interest rates between 10-60% (doubled for non-Guild members). Cheque clearing from other institutions is generally quick, often the same day, rarely more than a week, if drawn from a Dwimmervolk or Mages Guild account then is always same-day. Also offers “safes” or even “vaults” where valuables can be stored safely – cost depends upon size and availability. Cash issued is in Dwimmervolk coinage. The account is tracked by a personal Account Crystal, and verification is performed in a variety of ways, all of which involve magic.
Dwimmervolk Bank: Usually an initial 5000 Silver in deposits with a minimum balance of 500sp. Used by the wealthy, can handle individual or group accounts. Will issue Letters of Credit, Traveller’s Cheques, and allows the use of Personal Cheques (for a 5% Fee) – individuals may also purchase a Debit Seal for 1000sp that works as a “Debit Card” in those establishments that accept them. Works in cash, and will also accept gems and jewelry (usually granting ~50-75% of the value). Will change money for a fee of 10% (doubled for non-account holders), as well as Cheques from other institutions. Will offer loans for interest rates of generally 25-75%, for virtually any amount given the right collateral. Cheque clearing from other institutions is generally quick, often the same day, rarely more than a week, if drawn from a Dwimmervolk account then is always same-day. Also offers “safes” or even “vaults” where valuables can be stored safely – cost depends upon size and availability. Factors can be hired as well to keep track of paperwork for taxes, etc. (for a 10% of the tax and fee). Coinage is issued in essentially any current coinage (coinage from far off lands may take time to accumulate) – though Dwimmervolk coinage is always available. Much like a Mage’s Guild Bank, the account is tracked by a personal Account Crystal, verification is performed in a variety of ways, all of which involve magic.