Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the oldest bank in the world, originated in 1472 as a Monte Pio (pawn agency) at the behest of the Magistracies of the Republic of Siena and was expressly instituted to give aid to the more underprivileged classes of the population during a time of particular hardship for the local economy. Its activity, continuing the great commercial and banking traditions of the city of Siena, evolved rapidly towards classical banking, especially after the reforms of 1568 and 1624. 1624
In particular, the Charter of 1624 launched the adoption of progressive operating structures, which bound the activity of the Monte even more closely to the economy of the area where it was present. As a result of this reform, the bank changed its name to Monte dei Paschi, by which it is still known today; on this occasion, Grand Duke Ferdinand II of Tuscany granted the Monte’s depositors a state guarantee, entailing for this purpose the revenues from the state-owned pasture lands in the Maremma (known as the “Paschi”). Monte dei Paschi gradually extended its activity to larger and larger areas of Tuscany, and at the time of Italian unification it was one of the most solid banks in the country, initiating new activities including land credit, a first for Italy. 1907-1930
The Bank expanded beyond the boundaries of its two traditional provinces (Siena and Grosseto) to begin operations in a growing number of regions (opening branches in Empoli, Florence, Perugia, Naples, and Rome), and participated in the founding of the Banca Toscana.
Monte dei Paschi di Siena, in recognition of its public juridical status, was officially declared a public-law credit institution and received a new charter, which – with some later modifications – remained in effect until 1995, when the bank was profoundly transformed on the institutional level, 1946-1989
The bank consolidated its presence throughout Italy and expanded abroad, opening branches and offices in the major financial centers of the world: New York, Singapore, Frankfurt, and London. 1990-1994
MPS was the first bank in Italy to diversify into insurance, through MontePaschi Vita. It entered the sector of mutual funds with Ducato Gestioni, reinforcing its presence also in mid- and long-term credit, through the acquisition of Mediocredito Toscano and the Istituto Nazionale per il Credito Agrario, whose activities were absorbed into MPS Banca per l’Impresa. MPS also acquired controlling shares in foreign banks in Belgium, Switzerland and France. 1995
A decree by the Minister of the Treasury dated 8 August 1995 gave birth to two entities: the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena and the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena S.p.A. The foundation has as its statutory purpose the pursuit of aims of aid and charity, as well as of social benefit in the sectors of scientific research, education, health care, and the arts, especially in the city and province of Siena, and is the direct heir of the original Monte, a public law institution. The second is the bank proper and the leader of the Group, carrying out activities of credit, finance, and insurance. 1999
On 25 June 1999 the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena was quoted on the Milan stock exchange, marking a fundamental milestone in the process of strengthening the Group’s size and competitiveness. 2000-2005
With its debut on the stock exchange, the bank began an intense phase of territorial and operative expansion, marked by the following principal developments:
- Acquisition of participation in some regional banks with deep roots in their own territory, such as the Banca Agricola Mantovana;
- Reinforcement of the structures of production in strategic market segments through the development of product companies: Consum.it in the sector of consumer credit, MPS Leasing and Factoring in the parabanking sector, MPS Finance in investment banking, MP Asset Management SGR in managed savings, MPS Banca Personale in financial promotion; Concentration in MPS Banca per l’Impresa of the activities in the sector of specialized credit to businesses and of corporate finance services;
- Development of commercial productivity, with the aim of improving the level of assistance and consultancy to investors and businesses, through service models specialized as to segment of the clientele;
- Consolidation of activities in certain areas of strategic importance, such as private banking markets, and, following pension reform, that of private pension plans;
- Implementation of a vast program of opening new branches of the Group, with the goal of a network of more than 2,000 branches by the end of 2006.
Acquisition of 55% of Biverbanca - Cassa di risparmio di Biella e Vercelli (700 employees and 105 branches in 7 provinces in Piedmont, Lombardy, Lazio and the Aosta Valley), a bank focused on household products and promote the development of local economic districts, characterised by a strong presence of small and medium enterprises.
Acquisition of Banca Antonveneta, company founded by a process of mergers and aggregation of banks with strong territorial roots, which enabled it to transform itself from a small regional bank to a bank of national importance, while maintaining, at the same time, a close relationship with local communities and playing an active role in supporting and enhancing the economic fabric in which it operates.