Banks of Piety

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Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson:

"there was private money long before there was government money. The first revolutionary (or reformist) use of this idea, as a check against galloping usury and high interest rates, was the foundation of "Banks of Piety" by the Dominican order of the Catholic Church in the late middle ages. (See Tawney, _Religion and the Rise of Capitalism_.) The Dominicans, having discovered that preaching against usury did not deter the usurer, founded their own banks and provided loans without interest; this "ethical competition" (as Josiah Warren later called it) drove the commercial banks out of the areas where the Dominicans practiced it." (