Name of Guild: Coinlenders Guild
Headquarters: City of Venkis, Kerrabar
Found Date: 3573, Novalis 16
History: Founded almost forty years ago, the coinlenders were originally three rich merchants with time on their hands and an idea for an investment. They were Arron Bennette, Barton Grimes, and Darron Stafford; all men of small wealth and minor influence in the city of trade. Their goal was to have merchants, nobles, and the simple rich store their hard coins in their warehouse and charge them for it. While a seemingly ridicules idea at first, it blossomed into a wishful idea, if people would go for it. It began as a simple jest, but grew to great proportions nearly overnight when their conversation was overheard by a passerby. This passerby was no ordinary citizen, his name was Tam Josgar and he was one of the leaders for the King’s Paupers and the son of the Baron. He heard their idea and thought on it a single night.
The three men involved with financing this venture met the next day only to be greeted with a proposition. It was an invitation to a ball the Baron was having. Never one to frown on the ability to mingle with nobility, they all three attended. There they were confronted by a young man, the baron’s son, and he expressed interest in their financial business as he agreed that it could be very lucrative for them. He agreed to help with backing from his personal funds should they continue with this idea and wished them luck. They were shocked when they received another invitation the next night; only this one was to no ball with glimmer. The invitation was written on a torn piece of burned parchment and requested their appearance at a tavern on the docks toward the last tolling of the night bell. Two of the men failed to attend, fearing the worst. Barton Grimes however was intrigued, after all the baron’s son has overheard them talking and offered them a business proposition, why couldn’t they find backing elsewhere?
He arrived and sat down in the dingy inn, fearing to sit in on the grease soaked chair he stood by the bar instead. A tap on his shoulder directed him toward a table by the kitchen where it was smoky and loud, a great place to speak about business when not wanting to be overheard. Two men sat at the table, one in a light cloak with the hood pulled low over his eyes. The other was a small spindly of a youth, well dressed in soft cottons and silks. The clothes and jewelry alone more than some profit this man made in a day during some transactions. The thought did not escape his mind that it was no coincidence that the baron’s son, Tam spoke with them the night before, and now another person of some minor wealth had contacted them about possibly the same thing.
“Greetings Mr. Grimes, we had hoped that all of you would show tonight. You may call me Evan. We have heard about a proposal you and your fellow businessmen have concocted. This has intrigued us. The man sitting with you is the father of a particular group of individuals that would like to remain anonymous for the time being. They have a proposition for you as well. Your idea is sound and has potential to make money should you know where to look.”
“Evan, thank you for your interest but we already have a financial backer. The baron’s son Tam, you may have heard of him?”
The sound of Tams’ name caused Evan to smirk and glance toward his companion.
“Yes I know of him. Nice guy, for a noble though a bit to dandy for my liking though. What if we could guarantee you business? Guarantee that people would flock to you as a resource for their funds? If we could do that, would you say yes to our proposal?”
“Evan, you must take me for a fool or an upstart. There are no guarantees in business. But if you could make them come knocking on our door for business, then yes I would listen and agree to nearly anything.”
“Well Mr. Grimes, you have just made a great business partner that hates paperwork and fine print. You see, I work for some people who work very closely to a group you may have heard of, the King’s Paupers. And well you see I can make sure people flock to your door wanting you to keep their coins safe. It is nearly as easy as taking sweets from an infant. Our proposition, before we detail our position in this will be a small percentage of 5% of all funds given to you. In the end you will see this as a very small price to pay for the service we will give you. We will have a member work hand in hand with you to make sure all the figures are correct come the kings’ tax man and his greedy ways. This also insures us getting our percentage.”
“If you can promise the continued business, then I will agree to 1% as 5% seems rather steep even for a financier like me.”
“Negotiating before you know the whole deal? I can respect that. Alright, 3% and nothing lower or we walk now and your business fails by no hand of ours I will add.”
“3% may be high, but I will agree only that you give me assurances on what you say you can deliver.
“That seems a fair choice. Agreeing to this sets us in a deal that you can not break I warn you that now. My friends have agreed to increase a certain activity that will remove the funds of the self important and wealthy, the type of people who would use your services. By putting this scare out that no one is safe they will flock to you and pay to keep their funds away from the likes of us. You should of course charge a security fee to protect their funds so no one will be able to steal from you, but offer assurances that their funds won’t be taken. The intricacies I will leave to you and yours, but you have agreed well the same and you will not regret that choice.”
Barton left and met his partners in the morning, explaining to them what had happened and what the outcome was. While they were against it at first, the more he detailed about what he talked about with Evan the more intrigued they were. It was then that the Coinlenders Guild was created in full. They informed Tam Josgar that his interest was thanked but not needed, should he wish to invest on a business level he was more than willing to. They opened up their business a month after the rash of theft rose in the city and they were a welcome site. When a few of the baron’s men came to question their motives it was Tam himself who bailed them out saying that he had a friend who was robbed and this was exactly what was needed.
Description: The Coinlenders Guild is housed in a building they have dubbed the Golden Stone Tower. While neither being made of gold or entirely of stone, it is none-the-less where the gold coins of the rich are kept. The guild of coinlenders was set up to store the coinage of their customers under protection and without fear of it being stolen. They have set up measures to ensure that the funds are safe in the towers where they are stored. Individual boxes with multiple latches and triggers that are set by the customer and the guild leader for that particular tower. This ensures that should anything happen to the customer, access is possible.
Each tower houses documents from the other towers letting each official know the balance of each customer. This ensures that if a customer should travel to a different city they could visit the local Coinlender to remove funds. The customer pays extra for this service, and those who travel willingly pay it as they no longer are force to carry large sums of coins with them in fear of being robbed en route to their destination.
The guild has two purposes. To the outside, they are a business that works with the public, or those with enough coins to pay someone to keep it safe. They charge fees for housing these coins on a monthly or yearly basis, the longer the term of agreement the cheaper the percentage they have to pay. There are a few minor upfront fees that the customers pay, the purchase of the individual boxes is one of the largest fees, but it is still small in comparison to the funds that are usually kept inside these storage units.
The other side of the guild, the darker side, is one of lending money to those in need, for a large return investment. While this isn’t seem as illegal, the tactics when dealing with those who do not pay their debts is. The King’s Paupers have set up agreements with the leaders of the guild to help assist in making money. They regularly raid homes that have not put their funds in the guild for protection to keep the scare and fear alive. This continues to keep the rich merchants, and worried nobles returning with more and more funds to keep safe. All for a fee of course. The Paupers keep a small percentage, usually only 3% of any fees and dues taken per customer, the guild still makes its money and lines the founders’ pockets with coins without work. The Paupers also deal with the loaning of funds to those in need. Anyone can take out a loan, but at a 100% return investment. Anyone willing to take this money usually has the availability to make good on the return payment. Those that do not usually end up on the street in the morning missing a body part or two as a sign for non-payment. This is an option they really do not wish, but it has kept the petty thieves down from coming in and taking money and running. Few, about 2% ever get away without paying.
The party has just returned from a very successful adventure and need a place to store all their loot. They hear tales of the Coinlenders Guild only to be robbed before they can meet. Their trek through the city in search of the thieves and their hard won possessions leads them right back to the Coinlenders Guild.