The Iron Bank of Braavos has been one of the most ominous organizations in the Game of Thrones Universe. It has enough wealth and power to either fund entire governments or destroy them. Even at this point in the series both in the books and show, the Iron Bank has proven to be a formidable obstacle for whoever holds the Iron Throne. The reason for this is because the Iron Throne is totally broke due to either Robert Baratheon’s spending or funding the War of the Fives Kings. As a result, the crown owes the Iron Bank of Braavos “a tremendous amount of money.”
When the Lannisters swindled the Starks and Baratheons of the Iron Throne they also inherited the Iron Throne’s problems, which includes its ongoing debt crisis with the Iron Bank. This is bad news for the Lannisters because in the show Tywin Lannister admitted that the gold mines of the Westerlands, which served as the source of their wealth, ran dry three years before the War of the Five Kings. As a result, the Lannisters also had to take loans from the Iron Bank in order to fund their war against both the Starks and the Baratheons, which worsened the Iron Throne’s debt even more. This increased debt to the Iron Bank is really the only real victory the Starks and Baratheons won against the Lannisters.
Due to their heinous financial problems, Tywin Lannister hoped to solve them by forming an alliance with the wealthy House Tyrell. However, Tywin’s plans were destroyed by Cersei’s political blunders. In the books, she angered the Iron Bank, which caused them to call in all debts throughout Westeros and refusing new loans, which caused economic chaos. In the show, Cersei orchestrated the annihilation of House Tyrell’s line of succession, which caused the Lannisters losing the Tyrell’s support. With their gold mines spent and House Tyrell abandoning them, the Lannisters are in serious trouble with the Iron Bank. As Tywin Lannister described them, “You can’t run from them. You can’t cheat them. You can’t sway them with excuses. If you owe them money, you don’t want to crumble yourself. You pay it back!”
I wonder how the Iron Bank will respond when they learn that their Westerosi clients will inevitably tangle with the White Walkers. My guess is that since the Lannisters no longer have what it takes to pay the Iron Bank back, I am thinking it will be Daenerys who does it. In addition to having House Tyrell backing her instead of the Lannisters, Daenerys may have brought some gold and silver she collected while in Meereen. The Meereenese gold combined with House Tyrells’ wealth should be enough for Daenerys to pay them back and bring economic stability back to Westeros. I look forward to finding out next season.