Vatican bank reports $44 million profit in pandemic year

27267931170_ab30ec2a36_k_1.jpg The Institute for Religious Works, commonly known as the ‘Vatican bank.’ Credit: Joi via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

The Institute for Religious Works, commonly known as the “Vatican bank,” announced Friday that it recorded a net profit of $44 million in 2020.

Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló, president of the Supervisory Commission of Cardinals, said that he was “delighted” by the figure considering the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the global economy.

Writing in the institute’s 2020 annual report, he said: “The institute obtained a net profit of EUR 36.4 million [$44 million], compared to EUR 38 million [$46 million] of the previous year.”

“This is a very significant result, with which I was delighted, considering the low yields that currently characterize the financial markets, let alone the high volatility caused by the pandemic.”

He continued: “This is also a highly opportune result, bearing in mind that this year the Holy See has lost much of its income from its most substantial contributor, namely the Vatican Museums, which were closed for a large part of the year due to the pandemic.”

The institute, also known by its Italian initials, IOR, said June 11 that the commission of cardinals had decided to give 75% of the profits to the pope, with the remaining 25% used to increase the institute’s equity.

It noted that it had 645.9 million euros ($784 million) of net equity as of Dec. 31, 2020, after distributing the 2020 profit.

The IOR, based in Vatican City State, has 107 employees and 14,991 clients. It looks after 5 billion euros ($6 billion) of client assets, of which 3.3 billion euros ($4 billion) are assets managed for third parties or under custody.

The IOR published its financial statements in its annual report for the ninth consecutive year. It said that its 2020 financial statements were audited by the global auditing firm Mazars, “with a clean opinion report.”

Writing in the annual report, Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló recalled that the institute published its internal regulations for the first time in its history in 2020.

He said that the step was “intended to give practical effect” to the institute’s statutes, which were renewed in 2019, “regulating in detail the powers and competences of the various governing bodies.”

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