Italy, A Country I Can’t Take Seriously

by Johnny Debacle

Last week I wrote this quite racistly:

And as we all know Crabs:Cephalopods as WWII Italians: WWII Germans — fun-loving incompetent bottom-feeders who love spaghetti and wouldn’t mind being along for the world domination ride.

Well I can only blame that I grew up with The Untouchables, and, in that movie, the character of Malone colored my view on the whole country when he described a would-be assailant with a series of slurs which made impaled the assailant’s Italian descent. But, much to my racist chagrin, only days after feeling a smidgen of guilt for comparing Italians to bottom-feeding crabs, I read something like this, headline: In Italy Parmesan Is As Good As Money. Seriously.

The vaults of Credito Emiliano SpA hold the pungent gold prized by gourmands around the world – 17,000 tons of parmesan cheese.

The regional bank accepts parmesan as collateral for loans[.]

The bank offers loans for as long as 24 months, equal to the time it takes the parmesan to age, at the euro interbank offered rate, plus 0.75 percent to 2 percent, Bizzarri said. The bank gives producers as much as 80 percent of the value of the product, based on current market prices.

The bank considered taking prosciutto ham, another of the region’s specialties, and olive oil as collateral, but such products are harder to store and brand, Bizzarri said.

I bolded the AYFKM parts.

Recommendation: Let me just reiterate that I can’t take any country or group of people seriously if they keep up with this kind of stuff. This cheese shit doesn’t cut the mustard of taking a country seriously.

HT to MO

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  1. To The Hilt
    August 19th, 2009 | 10:47 am

    I heard the FED was going to accept cheese as collateral for TALF.

    Only American cheese though.

  2. August 19th, 2009 | 12:42 pm

    Our “Banks” took garbage McMansions as collateral, among other things, that are/were at least as silly as delicious cheese.


  3. dsdt
    August 19th, 2009 | 3:00 pm

    Before you know it, Italian quants (i.e. pizza chefs) will begin offering abs in pizza form. Assets (cheesy goodness, ham, and olive oil): check, strong roi (deliciousness): check, slicing/dicing: check.

  4. August 19th, 2009 | 3:04 pm


    Don’t you have a Princess to save or a Goomba to stomp, Luigi?

  5. August 19th, 2009 | 3:05 pm

    And there should have been a government cheese joke, although that probably would not be understood by most of our demo.

  6. Insider
    August 19th, 2009 | 3:21 pm

    Well, parmesan high prices are protected by the government, so banks are kind of automatically bailed out. Or something like that.

    (Sorry, can’t find any better source in english for this government policy than this link: )

  7. dsdt
    August 19th, 2009 | 3:42 pm

    The question that should be on all our minds is how can we hedge against the dreaded “black rat” event.

  8. RichL
    August 19th, 2009 | 3:58 pm

    It makes sense.

    If a bank has to potentially eat the collateral, they should also do inventory loans for San Marzano tomatoes and pasta asciutta.

  9. August 19th, 2009 | 4:02 pm

    We’ve been saying this for years, but they should really diversify into mackerel, if they are going to take this route.

  10. August 19th, 2009 | 4:39 pm

    @ Juggles

    Just because I may look like an i-tai doesn’t mean I am one (although I’ve been known to enjoy their food, women, jokes at their expense, etc), but I digress…

  11. HF
    August 20th, 2009 | 5:44 am

    At least they have some (very) tangible asset as colateral not some sort of MBO on CPDO that is backed by a sigature of a Joho (jobless + homeless).

    Also they keep the colateral in their safes so they can perform a real time risk assessement, no need for some fancy motecarlo or VaR.

    And as stated by Insider, the governement does provide bailout for the parmesan producers.


    this video takes sometime to load so if you don’t want to wait just don’t follow the link

    In conclusion, this is a government insured asset that has both financial and nutricional value. Long Parmigiano-reggiano!

  12. ajay
    August 20th, 2009 | 7:05 am

    US banks will take marmalade and pickles as collateral as of September 2009, under a new ruling by the Federal Preserve Board.

  13. August 20th, 2009 | 8:24 am

    Ajay will be here all week folks. Try the veal!

  14. To The Hilt
    August 20th, 2009 | 12:26 pm

    Wait until Hollywood gets ahold of this. I can see it now…

    The Italian Job 2. Marky Mark and his team of ne’er-do-wells break into Credito Emiliano and throw a dinner party in the vault.

    (There will be car chases)

  15. parmigiano
    August 21st, 2009 | 5:33 pm

    it still smells better than most Us companies..

    and i assure you, if the shit hits the fan it goes up 500% a week.

  16. HAM05
    August 31st, 2009 | 4:13 pm

    this is the most delicious news ive heard all day

  17. Christian Gross
    September 5th, 2009 | 3:36 pm

    Are you trying to be an ignorant knob on purpose?

    Have you ever looked at how these products are created in Italy? Do you even understand? Do you even understand that making these products requires years and years sitting doing nothing?

    Obviously not!

    Have you ever checked the balance sheets of companies that sell whiskey, or other products that require time?

    It’s called an intangible asset! And banks lend against these intangible assets! Even in your country!

    Next time think three times before posting!