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‘Robin Hood Banker’ Steals From Rich Clients to Help the Poor

Gilberto Baschiera, the former manager of a bank in Forni di Sopra, a small town in Italy’s Dolomite Alps, has been nicknamed the “Robin Hood Banker” for taking around €1 million ($1.15 million) from rich savers’ accounts, over several years, to help poor people qualify for loans.

It all started in 2009, at the the height of the global financial crisis, when banks’ criteria for credit approval assessments changed. It was no longer about an overall assessment of the customer, but about the reliability of the client, which was established at the bank desk, on a computer. So when a local man came to Gilberto Baschiera’s office asking for a small loan, and the bank manager saw that he didn’t qualify according to the new criteria, he felt sorry for him. Instead of turning him away like most bank managers would have done, Baschiera took some money out of the account of a wealthy client, and added it to the poor man’s account, so that he would qualify. But this was only the beginning of Gilberto Baschiera’s career as a modern-day Robin Hood of the banking world.

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Hard Currency – Italy’s Unique Cheese Banks

Cash-for-cheese sounds more like a joke that a serious financial agreement, but in some regions of Italy it’s a reality. The famous Parmesan is so precious that some banks are willing to keep the cheese as collateral against loans to local producers.

The Credito Emiliano bank has hundreds of branches and thousands of employees around central and northern Italy. Its central offices look like those of any other banking institution, with cameras watching every angle, security doors to lock down the place and even a big vault in the back. Only you’re not going to find too many diamonds or hard cash stored in there. Instead, there are hundreds of thousands of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels, neatly placed on giant shelves. The bank takes the Parmesan from local producers in exchange for a cheap loan, and charges a 3% interest as well as a fee for looking after the cheese and making sure it matures properly in the air-conditioned, humidified vault. It might seem strange, but Credito Emiliano treats Parmigiano-Reggiano like other banks do gold. And for good reason, as the mountains of cheese locked away in its secured vault are worth around $200 million.

cheese-bank

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Banking Is Child’s Play – Indian Street Kids Create Efficient Financial System

They say the banking system is very complicated, but try telling that to a bunch of Indian street kids who set up a model bank with tens of branches all over South-East Asia.

In order to save money for a brighter future, a group of Indian children have created their own bank, where they can deposit their money and take advances whenever they need to. A branch of this unusual financial institution is located in a shelter for homeless runaway teens in New Delhi. It’s here that street children who work come to place their money for safekeeping, and take out development or welfare advances to start a business or invest in things they need for school. The most impressive thing about this bank for kids and teens is that it was initiated, implemented and is operated by children. In fact, Satish Kumar, who was elected bank manager for the New Delhi branch of the children’s development ‘khazana’ (Indian for ‘treasure chest’) doesn’t look a day over 12.

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