How far in do you have to get before you can deposit money in the bank?
It's on a case-by-case scenario, I'm pretty sure the first doesn't even have a bank and the 2nd might not either. IV and V I believe it's when the game opens up a bit more, when you gain control of the main character and when he grows up respectively. In the case of V though the death penalty's lighter UNTIL that point, with no money lost and companions auto revived. For the other games the way to avert the full blow of the penalty before then is to simply blow all your money upgrading and getting items as the soonest opportunity.