It seems not even The Pope's private bank can make money when its only allowed to do it the legal way. As The FT reports, profits at the Vatican bank plunged last year after thousands of accounts were closed as part of an overhaul of the scandal-ridden institution. The Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), now has 17,419 customers, down from 18,900 in 2012 and net profit fell from EUR86.6m in 2012 to EUR2.9m last year. So - in sum - accounts fell 8% and profits collapsed 97% - is it any wonder Pope Francis plans to replace the board and all the executives at the 'bank'.
Since April 2013 almost 3,000 accounts have been closed and more than 2,000 have been blocked as a result of a screening process of all the accounts held in the troubled bank.
George Pell, the Australian cardinal heading the secretariat for the economy at the Vatican, said in a statement: “This is a time of major change in the Holy See . . . we are creating simpler, more efficient structures for those serving the mission of the Catholic Church.”
The Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), now has 17,419 customers, down from 18,900 in 2012.
In only the second annual report to be published, the bank announced net profit fell from €86.6m in 2012 to €2.9m last year.
Under the restructuring plan the bank, where decades of corruption and mismanagement did much to tarnish the image of the Vatican, the IOR is expected to be stripped of its powers to manage assets and return to its original purpose of sending funds to missionaries and Church groups around the world.
In a statement on Tuesday issued alongside the annual report, the bank blamed the falling profits on a rise in expenses, losses related to proprietary investments in external funds and the fluctuation in the value of gold reserves.
Cleaned-up, fully confessed and flagelated...
“We have focused on making the IOR compliant with financial regulation, safer and more transparent, so as to create options for the Holy Father to decide on the future of the Institute.
"we have laid the groundwork for a new team to make the IOR a truly outstanding service provider in Catholic finance,"
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Perhaps it's time for The Holy See to look into HFT? That's not illegal (yet)