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Vatican bank reports decreased profits in 2018

VATICAN (CNS): The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), often called the Vatican bank, made a profit of €17.5 million ($154 million) in 2018, just over half the profit reported in the previous year, according to its annual report.
 
In a statement released by the Vatican June 11, the institute said it continued to provide financial services to the Catholic Church present in the whole world and Vatican City State.
 
The bank, which had made a profit of €31.9 million ($280.8 billion) in 2017, said the decrease was due “to the strong turbulence of the markets throughout the year and the persistence of interest rates which are still very low.”
 
The institute held assets worth five billion euros ($44 billion) at year’s end, which included deposits and investments from close to 15,000 clients—mostly Catholic religious congregations around the world, Vatican offices and employees, and Catholic clergy.
 
According to the report, the bank’s assets are worth €637 million ($5.6 billion), placing its tier 1 capital ratio—which measures the bank’s financial strength—at 86.4 per cent compared to 68.3 per cent in 2017. The bank said the increased ratio “is a testament of its elevated solvency and its low-risk profile.”
 
Additionally, the bank refined its screening process for financial investments to ensure that it is “consistent with Catholic ethics by selecting only companies that carry out activities that are in accordance with the social doctrine of the church.”
 
The statement said the Vatican bank continues “to make investments aimed at fostering development in poorer countries while respecting choices that are consistent with establishing a sustainable future for future generations.”
 
The IOR said that it also “contributed to the implementation of numerous charitable and social activities, both through donations of a financial nature and through reduced-rate or gratuitous leases for the use of its own real estate to entities for social purposes.”
 
Before the report’s release, the 2018 financial statements were audited by the firm Deloitte & Touche and reviewed by the Commission of Cardinals overseeing the institute’s work, the press release said.

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