Malthus & Fullo
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Malthus & Fullo is an international merchant bank and franchise of counting houses, and is arguably the most powerful banking company in the world. With branches in every major city of nearly every civilized country, they are the picture-perfect manifestation of the wealth without which no world power can truly operate. They are the most common banking concern in Elysia and a great many other nations as well, and as they grow, their competitors disappear more and more rapidly. But it is in Elysia where there power first came to be known.

Begun by criminals in the medieval age, Malthus & Fullo has had a long history of fast growth and involvement in the affairs of nothing less than Empires. Named for 18th century economist Thomas Malthus, and for the ancient Germanic deity of wealth, they are a household name virtually everywhere. Nevertheless, Malthus & Fullo began as a relatively simple investment scam.

The di Siena Clan

The Florentine family di Siena were a minor merchant clan in the early part of the 15th century. They operated a small proto-bank in Florence that would hold the treasuries of other merchant clans. While sound, it showed no great promise for growth, until the di Siena patriarch, Constanzo, devised a revolutionary new scheme for hedging his bets. He would promise market opportunities to ambitious Nobles in the aftermath of upcoming conflicts between Italian royals. At times this took the form of bankrolling one side or another in the many sectarian battles of feudal Italy's warring city-states. In secret, however, M & F would frequently bet on two or more sides of the fight at once.

At first, the di Sienas desired political power more than money. They wanted access to the Rotaric church and its sway over the common people and nobles alike.

They began by playing the supportive patron to countless artists and architects, first in Italy then in the greater European sphere. With the renaissance right around the corner, they had sowed immense financial gain. Simultaneously, they planted their own clansmen in the political structure and the clergy, gaining a name for themselves, being granted land and title of peerage and experiencing a meteoric rise in public adoration. Soon, the di Sienas were the most powerful of Florentine clans, and eventually one of the most powerful in all Italy. As architects and artists rose and fell, their masterpieces remained; a lasting testament to the glory of the di Sienas, able to be visible by every furre in Europe.

Founding of the Bank

Finding Italian politics too treacherous, the ruling members of the powerful di Siena family soon decided they needed a more permanent solution to their avarice. The head of their House decided to return to old family roots, and start the bank up again. This time with the full influence of their pedigree and Costanzo's brilliance both.

Soon was born Malthus & Fullo, and aided by the di Siena's fame became Italy's preferred bank. Internationally, however, their influence stagnated, and they found the rest of Europe too rooted in ancient mercantilist techniques of handling their money, and infertile ground for the bank. It was not until they received a most unusual client that this changed.

The Elysian Connection

Malthus & Fullo's involvement in early Elysia is largely credited as the reason for their meteoric rise to international influence.

During the Colonization of Elysia, Malthus & Fullo were clients of the Novari Expeditionary Force, and had a hand in the early days of the nation. Much of their concern was in handling the burgeoning Novari wealth at the time, and that which they expected from the fruitful colonization of the island.

Oddly, however, historians record that M & F switched sides at the start of the Revolution, and backed Xavier's's uprising instead. This startling decision was passed down from the patriarch himself, from back home in Italy.

It is often thought that the bankroll of the company afforded many decisive victories for Xavier, and that they are indirectly a large reason the Revolution was possible.

Malthus & Fullo were strongly favoured due to their role in the war by Xavier when he became First King. He allowed their counting-houses to be established as quickly as large settlements were, and the bank's Elysian branch became the fastest-growing on earth. Later, as Elysia became the only trading Nexus for the Western Continents of Stara Ziema, the bank found the glass ceiling between Italy and the rest of the world suddenly shattered.

International Wildfire

Energized by their success in Elysia, Malthus & Fullo grew beyond the borders of Italy almost instantaneously upon their return. With grateful Kings and Queens as powerful allies, the bank advanced unchallenged into the world stage. Growing exponentially with the political power to wield monopolies, they starved or otherwise devoured smaller banking concerns.

M & F were a key player in countless wars and conflicts during this period, but did so by bankrolling the side more favourable to their interests, and then simply standing back to wait out the carnage. The executors of Malthus & Fullo, far from their cutthroat ancestors, are now among the most affluent and wealthy of families.

Where Malthus & Fallo found there was no banking, they used their political connection to foster their need. This frequently meant subjugating the more agrarian barter systems of local cultures, and artificially instilling the need for more "modern" methods of transaction. This has sometimes resulted in disastrous economic collapse, as they try to hastily install their market system in cultures not yet prepared to face the consequences.

Greedy Little Fingers in Elysia's Pie

Malthus & Fullo did not forget the chance that Colonial Elysia had afforded them, and built numerous banks in Elysia over the years since her formation.

During the recent war, it was rumoured that Malthus & Fullo were in financial support of both sides, but no clear picture has yet manifested of just exactly what they were up to.

Many counting-houses in Elysia are run by members of the di Siena family, including the Elysian City outfit, which is headed by Chief Officer Lombard di Siena. All of the city's nobles do their banking here, and a great many others in the Southern province as well.

Capitalism: An Angsty Love Poem

The bank continues to this day to diversify into new concerns, though their primary concern is the storage and management of private stores of precious metals, and manipulation of their prices. The bank made aggressive new movements recently into magicke-for-hire, and also have branched into military contracting with multiple nations. Rumour has it that envoys from the bank have been sent even to the Rephan Empire to parlay with Moloch himself. These are unable to be confirmed by any reputable source.

The international bankers of Malthus & Fullo make a habit of creating new incestuous political relationships between the bank and the rulers of feudal kingdoms. They frequently hedge their bets by courting the business of opposing sides, thus testing their 'clients' against their enemies to discern their potential for future profit. When regimes begin to wane, M & F are the first to see the blood in the water, and often withdraw their funds from behind their pet thrones, vastly accelerating their collapse with no concern for the civil strife that may and does ensue.

Your Future With M & F

Malthus & Fullo are known to keep their own private force of guards, all extremely well-trained at great cost. It is widely considered a fool's errand to attempt to misappropriate even so much as a quill pen from their premises.

Though many common folk view the bank as exploitative, avaricious and even immoral, there is arguably no safer place in the world to store one's personal assets. This will be a view shared by even those without enough money to bother taking up their services. Malthus & Fullo bankers are frequently Nobility; one of the few jobs lucrative enough that Nobles will get off their arses to do.

The bank recently opened an Elysian City branch, and seeks entry-level hirelings for more menial tasks. Though autocratic in nature, it is possible to ascend the ranks.

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