Cheese as collateral
There is no doubt about it. We are living in a strange world
and regarding the subject of finance, this writer was astounded to read in the New
Straits Times, in Malaysia, Wednesday December 12, 2001, the headline: "Using
parmesan cheese as collateral -– Italian regional banks charge lower interest.
Gourmets aren't the only ones who think parmesan cheese is golden.
In the fertile plains surrounding the northern Italian city
of Parma, regional banks have for decades been running parmesan accounts -–
offering low interest loans with cheese as security.
Banco Credito Emiliano owns the warehouse run by William
Bizzarri in the small town of Montecavolo near Parma.
Hundreds of thousands of golden wheels of ripening cheese,
stacked as far as the eye can see, stand in a warehouse as both their flavour
and monetary value grows.
'If you go to the bank for a loan without offering a
guarantee, you'll end up paying about eight per cent,' Bizzarri said as he
walked down the aisles of his warehouse, which houses 300,000 cheeses.
'But if you offer cheese as a guarantee, the loan will only
cost about six per cent.'
The warehouse offers dairies and cheesemakers short-term
financing which expires when the cheese is ready to sell. 'Cheese accounts'
are linked to a regular account at the bank.
'When the cheese enters the warehouse we assess its value
and offer a loan of between 65 and 70 per cent of its value accordingly,'
A fresh form of parmesan cheese weighing 50 kilogrammes sheds
12 kg as it matures. But as the months pass, the value rises...
Parmesan is made by a painstaking process which dates back to
14th century Benedictine monks. Modern technology and financing have
brought the process forward..." (emphases added).
I recognise that this piece of information has to do with
finance, but nevertheless I looked in the Word of God to see if cheese was
There is only one verse on the word cheese (singular) from
Job 10:10: "Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?"
A reading of the whole passage shows clearly that Job is
going through a hard time and feels like milk that has been poured from bottle
to bottle and finally being curdled like a piece of cheese.
Some readers will no doubt say that this has been their
experience over the years since receiving Christ and yet in the words of my son
Andrew, I emphasise again for this New Year of 2002:
Good times never change character. Therefore, with
this word cheese in my mind, having read the admonition of Job from the Bible, I
would encourage all believers in Christ who read our newspaper, that even if you
go through the cheese experience, ultimately that cheese will be seen suitable
to be counted a delicacy on the King's table.