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“Every client of the Vatican Bank (IOR) have a common characteristic, they serve the Catholic Church”. The Annual Report confirmed that in 2014, IOR had 15,181 users, whereas the year before they were 17,419 and many of the “were institutions”.

Two years ago, IOR traced some guidelines for the clients. They have to be institutional counterparts (institutions that sovereign in the Holy See or in Vatican City, and those connected in diplomatic way to the Holy See), non institutional counterparts (Vatican employees and retired people), institution of consecrated people and society of Apostolic Life and Dioceses. “Our clients leave their money here, and some of them ask us to manage their money and stocks,” explains the IOR.

The majority of accounts (half of them) are of religious people: nuncios (14%), cardinals, bishops and priests (9%), dioceses (8%), and the rest is different individuals – Vatican employees and educational institution too).

The IOR has been busy gathering information about the behavior of the new “identity data templates”; and they are also strengthening measures against money laundering and in order to better identify their clients.

This screening started in 2013 and the number of users diminished, 4,614 accounts were closed and others are to be closed soon.

“Many of our clients have a role in the mission of the Catholic Church or lead charity missions in schools, hospitals and refugees’ camps – explained the IOR – and it does not accept those who are not connected with the Holy See or any businessman”.

The Catholic Church and its institutions, its missionary missions and its act of charity are led in abandoned places in the world, they have very basic buildings and they often have bank systems that are not updated. The IOR is particularly important for those people because it is a reliable bank and can send funds in all those remote countries”.

Our clients often work in different countries, using different currencies. Even in this case, the IOR can be helpful in sending money from one part of the world to the other – and adds – our clients often underline that this trustful relation is very important to them, especially in these times of political and financial instability. Our users know we use money in a responsible and ethic way”.

Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa

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