Cotton manufacturers as bankers: the textile trade and credit in spain (1840-1913)
Historians claim that in the nineteenth century Catalan cotton manufacturers were giving informal credit to their clients, and were therefore unable to transfer this credit to the banking system. Such circumstances would have had a detrimental effect on the profitability of the cotton firms. Based on an analysis of the archives of several firms, as well as judicial and notary sources, we can confirm this state of affairs, but present a more optimistic interpretation of the system. Manufacturers were, in fact, acting as their customers bankers because they were in the best position to perform this function. They built up a good information structure, managed the credit risk efficiently and earned money from this activity.
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