The Templar Knights were a monastic order, formed near the end of the First Crusade to protect Christian pilgrims on the route to the Holy Land, they were also called the Poor Knights of Christ, the Temple of Solomon, and la Milice du Christ. This was the first time a group of secular knights banded together and took the monastic vows. In this sense they were the first of the Warrior Monks. The Templars fought along side King Richard I (Richard The Lion Hearted) and other Crusaders in the battles for the Holy Lands.
In two centuries, they became powerful enough to defy all but the Papal throne. The fear they instilled on the battlefield their wealth and their generosity with it were the main reason for the monastic fighting orders later on. Despite the fact that the church had banned loaning money for interest, the Templar Knights, being the crafty sort as they were, received the loans in a different manner and were able to finance even kings.
They would get there customers to pay them back with items and other things worth the same as the coin they were owed.
After Pope Innocent II granted the Templars immunity from all authority except that of the Papal throne, they became very powerful and influential within Europe's political circles. This enabled them to do as they pleased as long as they stayed within Christian rules, and as a result, their loaning of money increased greatly and it is for this reason that historians believe them to have invented banking.
It was either because of this wealth or their seemingly limitless powers that the Templars were eventually destroyed. The King of France enlisted the help of Pope Urban II to dissolve the Order. In addition to removing a potentially dangerous adversary,