The Ferrara Monte di Pietà, a charitable organisation established in 1507, played a highly influential role in the socio-economic development of Ferrara, Italy. Indeed, it became an intermediary between the supply and demand of money in the area, and contributed to the development of both a financing system for the lower social classes and a financial intermediation market. However, due to organisational inefficiency it went bankrupt in 1598 and 1646, and this study examines its response to these events, focusing in particular on its governance, assets, accounting and information systems and control mechanisms. This analysis reveals that the two post-bankruptcy reforms had different outcomes. In fact, while the first reform was efficient, it was not effective, and led to another bankruptcy. In contrast, the second reform was effective but inefficient: although it prevented another bankruptcy, it had a deleterious effect on its organisational procedures.
Keywords: Monte di Pietà, bankruptcy prevention, countermeasures, governance, organisational structure, accounting systems.