The gold in this Italian bank is actually 430,000 wheels of Parmesan
Credito Emiliano, a bank in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna, offers loans in exchange for a unique Italian guarantee: gold wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Housed in a high-security complex surrounded by barbed wire, the bank, known locally as the Credem, owns some 430,000 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano made by farmers in the region. The stacks are 20 wheels high and are carefully monitored. Credem employees regularly clean, turn, prick and even taste each wheel.
In total, these assets are would have worth around 190 million euros.
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Parmigiano-Reggiano, or, as most Americans know, Parmesan, is a delicacy from northeastern Italy. Quality Italian Parmesan (for example, not one that is pre-flaked in a plastic container) has a protected designation of origin, referred to by the acronym “DOC”
To qualify for DOC status, specialty food products like Parmesan must meet strict requirements. Under Italian law, DOC Parmesan must be made in one of the following four regions: Bologna, Mantua, Modena or Parma. The regulations specify the exact recipe and processed cheeses that cheesemakers must use, as well as the aging requirements of 18 to 36 months.
“Producers are faced with very long delivery times”, Nikolaos Trichakis, Assistant Professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School (HBS), Recount Forbes. “They basically have working capital tied to inventory for two years.”
Parmesan is particularly sensitive to market fluctuations, according to Trichakis, who co-authored a study at HBS titled “Credem: bet on cheese. “Considered a luxury item, DOC Parmesan is one of the first indulgences to take away when the belts are tight during an economic downturn. A 1 percent difference in demand can result in a whopping 10 percent variation in price. market price, says Trichakis.
Credem is about 35 km from Parma, the region from which the cheese takes its name.
“We are a traditional bank active in supporting Parmigiano-Reggiano producers,” Fausto Filippi, a Credito Emiliano banker, said in a statement. video covered with The Washington Post. “The decision to use Parmigiano-Reggiano for this type of credit program is simply due to the fact that it is a typical product unique to this region. “
“They could shorten the ripening to cut costs,” Trichakis said, “But then the cheese we eat wouldn’t be so tasty.” Customer satisfaction is always a good investment.