Silver Age Beyond
So, just where do characters put the currency they’ve made? If they don’t make much (less than 15 Falcons a year), they may act like most folks and simply stash it in the mattress or in the flowerpot; the hassle of dealing with a bank for this small sum is probably more than the effort is worth. However if more money is made, then a bank is the only safe place to keep it – unless the space traveler has a castle with a retinue of guards to protect his stash.
Banking in the Galactic Imperium
In the Galactic Imperium, characters go to a bank to secure their money, not to invest it; after all, large quantities of coin can cause a lot of trouble. They have five major options: the Shoqëri Guild Bank, the Monk Militas, the Imperial Bank, the Arius Guild and Prolimetri Noble/ Sectus coffers.
The Shoqëri Guild Bank is the largest bank in the Galactic Imperium, with branches on every world. Currency deposited in the Guild Bank – generally, the Guild charges 5% of deposits – is accessible at any of its branches in these times of peace, though remote branches will charge additional fees. (That has not always been true in times of war.) Money in the Guild Bank is very secure; it is the daring thief indeed who steals from the Shoqëri Guilds, though it has been done.
The Monk Militas bank began when the Order kept money safe for pilgrims, but it is now the second-largest bank in existence. The Monks charge 10% of deposits, and money in Monk Militas coffers is available from any Monk Militas bank branch – which is to say on every planet. Stealing from the Monk Militas is just a bad idea; so far, no one has ever survived an attempt.
The Imperial Bank, founded by Emperor Chryselios, is the youngest bank, and it charges only 3% of deposits. Unfortunately, the Imperial Bank presently only has branches on Capital Secundus, and three other core Imperium worlds – though they are expanding.
The Arius’ Guild is not officially in the banking business, but as the banks above often ask questions potential clients might not want to answer they have quite a following among the criminal class. The fee the Money Dealers charge is directly proportional to the power of the Arius keeping the money safe, and also bears a direct relationship to the security of the funds: with the Arius, you get what you pay for. Keeping money with the local Arius capo might be as little as 2-3%, but securing any meaningful sum is going to run 15-25% of the total sum.
Noble Prolimetri Houses will also keep money safe for their family members, as will the local Cathedral for priests in the area – and neither charges any fee for the privilege. There is a catch, however; in both cases, there is the possibility that funds might be withdrawn by someone besides the person who deposited them. Siblings have been known to drain the accounts of their family on many occasions, and the local parish priest may borrow from monies entrusted to the sacristy to cover needed improvements to his temple or even just gambling debts incurred when the All-Maker was looking the other way. Still, it’s safer than just stuffing ’falcs under a mattress.
Banking in the Zon-Gra Protectorate
Despite the progressive nature of the Protectorate races’ feelings about many subjects compared to the regressive tendencies of many Imperium worlds, the primary currency of the protectorate worlds are discrete units of energy, usually stored in crystals known as Galactic Emeralds. These crystals may hold potentially many hundreds of energy units, similar to what you might think of as a ‘cred stick’ however these emeralds do have the currency emeralds within them, so they are more like a wallet than an actual indicator of credit.
The Lifari Trade initiative provides banking and transport of currency crystals throughout Protectorate space, usually backed by escorts of Nether Corps near core Protectorate space, or in the cases of the outer Protectorate worlds, by detachments of the Rondi Confederation star navy in the case of state or large transactions.
However, travelling with many thousands of ampules of pure fusion energy has it’s own dangers. Firstly, the Void hungers for energy, and there have been cases where energy drains have occurred in deep, interstellar space, rendering thousands of units of energy and currency moot and suddenly drained of value. But if a ship is significantly damaged, to the point where a large number of fusion energy emeralds are struck with sufficient force to crack and release the energy within, what might be a simple act of piracy could soon turn to one of brutal and total destruction. For this reason, space pirates tend toward boarding actions rather than large-scale starship weapon-based assaults on wealthy vessels, lest there be nothing of value left to salvage in the aftermath.
Nether-energy forcefield storage
Storage of massive amounts of fusion-based crystal containers is also potentially dangerous. The crystals are extremely durable, nearly diamond hard, however a high-yield explosion too near a large deposit of crystals could be enough to completely level an area in a very dramatic chain-reaction. Indeed great wealth comes with great potential danger in the Protectorate. Therefore the Trade Initiative, working with the Nether Corps, who themselves have devised methods of managing a power they associate with the Void special cases with a null-energy force-fields that assist in protecting potential harm to any GE that they have stored. Nether-energy force-field cases can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from a briefcase or footlocker sized lock box, to a full array of vaults, but the basic design is the same. A power source (usually a unit of fusion power) inside a hard case forms an internal non-porous energy force-field that surrounds the crystals whenever the case or vault door is closed.
Most LTI bank vaults are also built inside of starship grade bunkers, with doors similar to bulkheads, and vents capable of redirecting plasma explosions should the worst occur and a dreaded chain reaction explosion occur within the vaults. This has proven invaluable during wartime, as in centuries past, simply detonating a bank inside a major city could be enough to almost completely destabilize it, if not wipe it off of the map entirely.
Because of the dangers of Galactic Emeralds inside of populated areas of Zon-Gra Protectorate space, some planets offer storage upon landing, or require it, and issue encrypted credit data sticks while on-world so that transfers can occur safely and in a monitored way. The world’s governances usually contract that function to a reputable Trade Initiative certified company, who charges a fee to the world (as well as the customer) for the storage of the crystals, and then merchants inside the world’s (Agora) can be expected to accept that currency while docked, and likely many outlying colonies on that world as well.
Some within the Trade Initiative have sued for a completely data-based economy, relying on cred-sticks backed by protected caches of the Galactic Emeralds throughout the Protectorate worlds, however due to the existence of intelligent computer viruses throughout the galaxy, (particularly the one that caused the Fall of the Galactic Imperium’s Second Republic), and the volatility of their primary currency, there has been much opposition throughout the Protectorate races. The Lifari High Council has vowed to take it under consideration, however the Lifari are a long-lived race, and they are not above taking their time (in this case around one hundred years) in deliberation.
Banking Outside of Civilization
There are organizations which, (usually for a steep fee), will house rare goods or currency anonymously, quietly and outside of the trappings and taxes of the great Galactic superpowers of the Zon-Gra Protectorate, Jith Hegemony and Galactic Imperium.
Many of the so-called barbarians have various methods of transporting and hoarding currency, and there are rumors of Shadow Banks peppered throughout the various worlds, possibly bank-rolled by the Mahyah Nostra, in the Imperium or the Tachidi sub-race of the Klackon inside the Protectorate. Knowledge of these kinds of places generally comes from word of mouth through smuggling rings , underground movements and criminal ties.