At the beginning of 1500, Naples was the second most important city after Paris; its commercial port was one of the busiest in the Mediterranean. The streets were filled with noblemen, businessmen, sailors, but also people who were trying to survive by doing part-time work or odd jobs. Inflation afflicted a part of the population, which was forced to turn to money-lenders to have enough money to survive. As a result, some institutions were formed to help the poorest subjects avoid being the victims of usurers.

Between 1500 and 1600 the eight public banks of Naples were formed: 

1. Banco della Pietà (1539-1808);
2. Banco dei Poveri (1563-1808);
3. Banco dell’Annunziata (1587-1702);
4. Banco di Santa Maria del Popolo (1589-1808);
5. Banco dello Spirito Santo (1590-1808);
6. Banco di S.Eligio (1592-1808);
7. Banco di S.Giacomo e Vittoria (1597-1809);
8. Banco del Salvatore (1640-1808).

The main branches of the public banks of Naples were located in some of the most evocative areas of the historical centre of Naples, from via Toledo to Piazza Castelnuovo, from San Biagio dei Librai to Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, from Via Tribunali to Piazza del Mercato. As time passed, the eight banks began to accept deposits of money used in loans with interest and they became credit institutions. These charity institutions became rich with assets and began to compensate for the scarcity of money in circulation by issuing credit certificates. These statements testifying to the fact that money had been deposited could be used with private and state transactions, and  there was often a reason for payment written upon these documents. The fedi di credito began to have clear validity as a public act and it began to replace, at least partially, metal coins. The state turned to the public banks for money to invest in wars, to pay for food supplies for the population, to carry out public works. The poor used banks to pawn their possessions, while the rich deposited money and valuables.