Vatican bank posts healthy profits despite economic shock from pandemic
The Institute for Works of Religion, commonly known as the Vatican Bank, posted a net profit of 36.4 million euros ($ 44.1 million) in 2020, according to its annual report.
Compared to a net profit of 38 million euros ($ 46 million) the previous year, “this is a very significant result” given the low returns and high volatility in financial markets triggered by the COVID pandemic -19, wrote Cardinal Santos Abril Castelló, president. of the commission of cardinals which supervises the bank.
This is also important given that the Holy See “lost much of its income from its most important contributor, the Vatican Museums, which were closed for much of the year due to the pandemic, ”he wrote.
According to the 136-page report published online on June 11, the Commission of Cardinals decided to donate 75% of the net profits, or 27.3 million euros ($ 33.1 million), to Pope Francis “or to specific entities ”and allocated the other 25%, or 9.1 million euros ($ 11 million), to its reserve and increase its equity, according to the report.
Administrative costs totaled 19.3 million euros ($ 23.5 million), he added.
The institute has managed over 5 billion euros ($ 6 billion) in client assets in total and has registered nearly 15,000 clients, who continue to be rigorously vetted and must be Vatican employees or retirees. or diplomats accredited to the Holy See. Episcopal conferences, dioceses, religious orders and other official Catholic works may also have accounts.
Cardinal Abril said that in 2020 the institute issued for the first time a set of internal regulations “to give practical effect to the statutes renewed in 2019, regulating in detail the powers and competences of the various governing bodies”.
“Financial statements were published for the first time in history, ensuring visibility of the real activities of the institute and its importance for the religious works of the Holy See and of the Catholic Church in the world”, a- he added.
Jean-Baptiste de Franssu, chairman of the bank’s supervisory board, said throughout the pandemic that the institute “has focused on the well-being of its employees and customers, adopting all healthcare measures put in place by Vatican City State. Our offices were never completely closed, some staff working remotely and none of our staff were seriously ill. “
The report also states that the bank continues to select investments in line with Catholic ethics, such as respect for human life, creation and human dignity, as well as seeking to contribute to the “care of the common home. “, as Pope Francis puts it. environmental encyclical, “Laudato Si. ‘”
Corporate social responsibility and the role of business in creating a sustainable future, he said, are the two fundamental characteristics of choosing investments.
The institute continues to contribute to many charitable and social activities, Franssu wrote, as well as providing rents with subsidized leases to Catholic associations and institutions that cannot afford market rates, and it lends goods for free use to organizations that support vulnerable people.
The 2020 financial statements have been audited by the Mazars Group firm and have been reviewed by the Commission of Cardinals overseeing the work of the institute, according to the statement.