The banks of the North Coast

The blue forest bank

Run by elves, this bank is one of the oldest institutions in all of faerun. They pride themselves in their security and are the favoured banks of the longer lived races. They have been known to raise entire armies to recover stolen property, and have a 100% recovery rate. Their flawless reputation is perhaps even more valuable than the gold they keep. They do not provide credit. They have offices in several major cities, including Waterdeep, Neverwinter, Baldur’s Gate and Silverymoon. They are known to specialise in keeping artefact-grade magical items safe. Their currency tokens are rounded cylinders of delicate platinum filigree, depicting scenes of nature. The craftsmanship means they would make valuable works of art on their own.

The Mirabar Undermountain Bank

Run by the dwarves of Mirabar, this bank has some of the shrewdest assessors and experts anywhere. They specialise in keeping fine gems, precious metals and other mineral wealth safe. They operate exclusively out of Mirabar, although their currency tokens are accepted throughout faerun by other banks and large organisations. They’re heavily invested in Mirabar’s mineral exploitation. Their currency tokens are shaped like ingots and adorned with dwarven scenes of mining. For ease of identification, they often have clear markings or stripes denoting the amount. Dwarven runes along one side signify the provenance of the token and will glow gently when near a strong source of magic. Credit is very hard to come by, but possible for someone who has a long-established relationship with the bank. They like to invest in mining ventures throughout faerun, and it’s not unusual to find a bank inspector traveling from mine to mine to check on the bank’s investments.

The Waterdhavian deposit bank

This upstart bank founded by human mages in Waterdeep prides itself on making business easy for its customers. With extensive use of the sending spell, they keep their customers regularly appraised of their finances, and provide additional services, such as business accounting, auditing and advice. They are a favourite bank of merchants and ship captains, as business can easily be conducted remotely. New accounts are provided with a book of sending that allows them to receive regular reports, and conduct business. These small blue bound books are usually magically locked to the account owner, and cannot be used or even read by unauthorised persons. Coercing an owner into performing a transaction is a bad idea, as the bank will find out somehow, and part of the bank fees cover insurance and recovery for such a case. Criminals haven’t figured out how this is done yet, and those who have crossed the bank have found themselves perpetually pursued by mercenaries and powerful mage agents until they gave up or died.

The ledger

The ledger is an open set of books of sending held between the largest banks of faerun. It contains the combined transfers of funds across all banks, and is the manner in which banks transfer funds between each other. Each bank keeps multiple accounts on the ledger in different currencies, to avoid fluctuation issues. New funds are added to the ledger by physical transfer to another bank, who then transfers the funds to the sending bank on the ledger. In practice this is used only for reconciliation, and physical goods rarely exchange hands. Banks usually have their own internal ledger, and the collective inter-bank ledger is kept at their headquarters.

Currency and exchange tokens

Past a certain amount, coins are no longer an appropriate exchange token. Most banks will issue metal markers that have been magically signed by their wizards and mages. These tokens take the form of small decorated bars of precious metal, and each bank has a unique and unmistakable style for creating these. Magically signed and uniquely numbered, these can be verified as coming from a particular bank by any serious assessor. Commonly issued values are 10k gp, 50k gp, 100k gp, 250k GP, 500k gp and 1M gp. Larger tokens are possible, but are almost always created especially on the request of a client. Length of these have standardised over time, so that two tokens of the same value usually have the same length between banks. They are usually kept in small discreet flat boxes or rolling leather wallets dedicated to this use. They rarely have the value they represent written anywhere on them, as that would be vulgar. Most people will go their entire lives without seeing these tokens, as they are predominantly used by states and institutions, or the extravagantly wealthy.

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