In 1929, more than 1600 banks failed due to the great stock market crash, so it’s widely believed that in order to survive you have to be smart with your money. Here are the oldest banks in the world that have seen it all -- and come out the other end intact:
1472 - Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Italy The World’s oldest bank was founded in the small Italian town of Siena. It’s currently Italy’s third largest bank with revenues of $5.61 billion and assets of $229.92 billion. During the financial crisis the bank lost $3 billion. JPMorgan are currently one of the biggest shareholders with 2.527 percent.
1590 - Berenberg Bank, Germany This German bank is based and Hamburg and is well noted for its conservative business dealings. During the financial crisis the bank experienced significant growth and generated revenues of around $5 billion in 2012. If you want to open a private bank account with the bank, you will need to stump up about $1.5 million
1614 - Stadsbank van Lening, Netherlands
Because this bank is part of the Amsterdam city municipality, it has no branches anywhere else. It's primary aim is to service as a pawn broker, dealing with large amounts of jewelery.
1668 - Sveriges Riksbank, Sweden The world’s oldest central bank is based in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. The bank started off life as Stockholms Banco, but quickly ran into serious problems by issuing too many bank notes without taking in collateral and was almost immediately declared bankrupt. The governor at the time was sentenced to death and the bank was put in the hands of the parliament and renamed the Sveriges Riksdag.
1672 - C. Hoare & Co, England This London based institution only has 350 employees and is still run by descendant of the Hoare family as an independent bank, the last in the United Kingdom. Typically the business deals with high-net-worth individuals. Jane Austen was a customer in the 19th century and the bank become the subject of Jack Aubrey’s favorite puns: “My bankers are Hoares.”
1674 - Metzler Bank, Germany This bank has offices in Los Angeles, Seattle, Tokyo and Dublin, but only has a net income of $4 million and just 750 employees.
1690 - Barclays Bank PLC (NYSE:BCS) England
This banking giant has over 139,000 employees and assets of $2.4 trillion. They lost millions of customers during the South African apartheid as many customers were disgusted at their involvement there. They are still being sued for repatriations in the South Africa. They are still present in Zimbabwe and closely linked with Robert Mugabe, but refuse to pull out of the country and have defied European sanctions on Zimbabwe.
1692 - Coutts & Co Limited, England Coutts is fully owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland but operates as an arm of the bank instead. Founded by a young Scots Gold-smith banker, it now has offices in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Montevideo, Singapore, Dubai and the Cayman Islands. It has been referenced in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Savoy opera The Gonadliers and in the Robert Louis Stevenson novella “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.”
1694 - Bank of England, England It’s the second oldest central bank in the world and was the brainchild of Scotsman William Paterson after England’s crushing defeat at the Battle of Beachy Head by French forces and was the catalyst behind England rebuilding its global powers. Today it has $600 billion in reserve.
1695 - Bank of Scotland, Scotland Where the Bank of England was established specifically to finance defense spending by the English government, the Bank of Scotland was established by the Scottish government to support Scottish business, and was prohibited from lending to the government without parliamentary approval. The Royal Bank of Scotland was established by royal charter in 1727 to compete with the Bank of Scotland resulting in decades of rivalry aimed at running each other out of business. It is now owned by Lloyds Banking Group and has over 20,000 employees.