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In the red

Posted by Leib Lurie on July 06, 2008 at 10:01

"In the red" - phrase finder says this is a 20th century phrase, yet I recently visited the site of "Banco Rocco" in Jewish ghetto in Venice - a bank from the 16th century; where people who needed money went to borrow from Jewish bankers/money lenders.

I was told while there, that if one needed money as a merchant, one went to the red bank (banco rosso) to borrow- and thus- if you were at the red bank's door, it meant you were obviously 'in the red'...

Can anyone verify?