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Loans business

Loans business of the Frankfurt banking house

The Rothschilds rose to pre-eminence in the 19th century in the business of issuing loans to sovereign governments. It was this activity which underpinned their business success and reputation. 

Since, in the 19th century, governments could not generate such funds, bankers like the Rothschilds, with their considerable resources, stepped in and provided them by issuing government bonds. The breakthrough which marked out the Rothschilds as the leading European bank was the large government bond they placed in 1817-1818 on behalf of Prussia. This was the first government loan issued by the Rothschilds.

Archive sources

The Frankfurt house issued many loans; regrettably most documentation concerning loans issued by the Frankfurt house was destroyed after the Frankfurt house closed in 1901. Some papers concerning loans issued by the Frankfurt house, (including loans to Prince Metternich) will be found in the Moscow Papers (637 series).