No. 36 - Historical Archive of Credit in Italy

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by Sandra Natoli, Paolo Piselli, Ivan Triglia and Francesco Vercelli January 2016

This paper presents the Archivio Storico del Credito in Italia (ASCI), a comprehensive database of balance sheet data for nearly 2,600 Italian banks on an annual basis for the period 1890-1973. The work draws on earlier work carried out by the Bank of Italy for the period 1890-1936 (published in 1996) and incorporates information collected by the Bank of Italy as part of its banking supervision activity from 1936 onwards. ASCI is suitable for analyzing a variety of credit phenomena, given the high representativeness of the banking system and the large amount of balance sheet data available. Based on this new dataset, we provide a sketch of the evolution of the Italian banking system between 1890 and 1973, exploring the composition of the balance sheets across bank categories, the regional distribution of banks and the degree of concentration.

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