A Bank that accepts cheese as collateral.

Credito Emiliano is a name of a bank in Italy that accepts giant wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano as collateral for loans.

Who thought the banking industry was that creative?

This isn’t something that can be done on a whim. It’s something that has to be intentional to serve a certain group of customers. You need a climate controlled storage. It’s an investment, but it unlocks entirely new dimensions that otherwise wouldn’t work.

The bank is located in the region of the world where only this type of cheese can be produced. It understands the aging process which is typically 18-36 months. It also understands that the types of people who run businesses like the cheese business are the ones who often need loans to hold them over until their cheese matures and it can be sold for an influx of cash.

This bank is actually serving a dual purpose. If I had a cheese business with a warehouse for aging that held 1,000 cheese wheels, and now this bank comes along and says we’ll take your cheese as collateral while it ages, and they are willing to give me a loan against another 1,000 wheels, I can double my production for the next few years until I’ve double the amount stored, using the bank as an extension of my warehouse. In the meantime, I’ve put some loaned money in my pocket that I’ll have to pay interest on, but that can be thought of as a warehouse fee.

I won’t pretend to know the numbers involved here, but assuming they work out, this particular banks gives its customers a new dimension to work in. That’s pretty great.

I’ve said it on this blog many times, there are many ways to stand out and differentiate. If a bank can figure out how to take giant wheels of cheese as collateral, you can figure out how to be a bit different too.