Usury - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Banking during Roman times was different from modern banking. During the Principate, most banking activities were conducted by private individuals, not by such large banking firms as exist today; almost all moneylenders in the Empire were private individuals because anybody that had any additional capital and wished to lend it out could easily do so.
The rate of interest on loans varied in the range of 4–12 percent; but when the interest rate was higher, it typically was not 15–16 percent but either 24 percent or 48 percent. The apparent absence of intermediary rates suggests that the Romans may have had difficulty calculating the interest due on anything other than mathematically convenient rates. They quoted them on a monthly basis, as in the loan described here, and the most common rates were multiples of twelve. Monthly rates tended to range from simple fractions to 3–4 percent, perhaps because lenders used Roman numerals.
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