The Bank That Accepts Cheese As Collateral For Loans

When it comes to innovation, you have to give a bank in northern Italy credit. Based in an area that’s the sole source of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Credito Emiliano — or Credem as it’s known — provides the region’s cheese producers with low-interest loans and accepts wheels of freshly produced cheese as collateral, and it has done so since 1953. Each wheel, when it’s ready to sell, can be worth thousands of dollars, making loans against them quite secure. However, the wheels take anywhere from 18-36 months to age, so Credem stores and tends to the cheese wheels in a giant climate-controlled warehouse until they're ready for market. You wouldn’t think that a bank would take care of cheese on behalf of their clients, but the bank says they’re simply protecting their clients’ investments. Of course, the bank is also protecting its own investments, since it sells the cheeses in case of default. The more than 300,000 wheels of cheese it cares for in the warehouse are worth almost $174 million. That’s a lot of bread…….for cheese.