Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jacques DeMolay Federal Credit Union

The Knights Templar were an interesting group, not only for their battles and religious devotion, but also for how progressive they were in the field of banking. What?!? Banking? Yes, we know it sounds boring, but the Knights Templar were the world's first international lenders! I recently found a website with a nice overview of these practices at http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/crusades/knights-templar-banking.htm , which I reprint here for you to read:

"The Knights Templar Order became an extremely powerful entity during the Medieval times and era. When a man joined the Knights Templar he took an oath of poverty and his wealth and lands were donated to the Knights Templar order. The first donation of land was given to the Templars in 1127 by Count Thybaud of Champagne at Barbonne-Fayel, fifty kilometres north-west of Troyes. Further donations of money and land were given to the Knights Templar order by nobles and Kings. The Knights Templar were also given certain privileges, for example, King Alfonso I of Spain granted the Knights Templar exemption of tax on a fifth of the wealth taken from the Moors. Various Popes also gave privileges to the order. The Knights Templar order therefore became extremely wealthy and became involved in Knights Templar Banking activities."

"The Knights Templar banking activities led to their involvement with Usury. Usury was a form of money lending where an initial charge was made for a loan, or interest was charged on the repayments. The increase of the Knights Templar wealth in turn led to becoming involved in banking which in turn brought even greater wealth into the Knights Templar order. Their financial power due to their banking activities led to great political power in all of the countries in Europe of the Middle Ages."

"The Knights Templar banking activities increased their financial wealth and political power. Powerful monarchs went to the Knights Templar treasurers to obtain loans to finance their interests which included financing the cost of mounting a war. This was the case of King Philip IV of France (1268-1314) who was already heavily in debt to the Knights Templar when he requested a further loan to finance a war. The request was refused and a furious King Philip mounted an attack on the Knights Templar order. Pope Clement V initiated enquiries into the order and thousands of Knights Templar were arrested across Europe on charges of heresy. Anyone found sheltering a Templar was under threat of excommunication. This led to the decline of the Knights Templar Banking activities and the order itself."

So there you have it. If the Knights Templar hadn't become the scary "Repo Men" of the middle ages, they might just still be around! Now, where I can get a check card from Knights Templar National Lending and Trust... hmmm...

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth C. Anthony

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