Vatican bank’s soaring profits

The Vatican bank’s annual report shows a profit of €36 million (about NZ$55,630 million) for its last financial year.

The profits, which are up €20 million from the €16.1 million in the 2015 year, are “being distributed in aid of the Holy See’s mission”.

More properly called the Institute for the Works of Religion, the Vatican bank’s report also records billions in deposits and investments and a decrease in expenses.

The bank says the €4 million reduction in expenses is a result of them “rationalising” outside contractors.

The strong end-of-year results offer a positive view of Pope Francis’s Vatican financial reforms.

Australian Cardinal George Pell leads these reforms as the Vatican’s Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy.

Soon after his appointment in 2014, Pell announced a new management of the bank, appointing billionaire hedge fund guru Michael Hintze to its board.

Pell’s role also included ridding the bank of illegal practices such as money laundering.

The bank’s latest report says these practices have more than halved thanks to the strongly vigilant regime Pell introduced.

Thousands of accounts have been closed and strict new rules introduced in regards to who can hold an account with the bank.

Although the bank provides a deposit account and manages €5.7 billion worth of assets, it does not issue loans.

The financial statements were audited by Deloitte & Touche and reviewed by the Commission of Cardinals that oversees the Vatican bank’s work before the report was released.


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