Vatican Bank Tanks

From NCR: “Vatican bank reports decreased profits in 2018.” Profits dropped nearly 50%. Return on capital was pitiful. Not long ago the Vatican boasted that fraudulent transactions at the bank were way down (Vatican Declares Victory in Finance). Now it appears that this was due to a collapse in the bank’s business. No one seems to have noticed the connection.

No one asks why the Vatican is in the banking business. It certainly is not traditional. The Vatican Bank was established shortly after World War II. During much, if not most of its history, the Catholic Church forbid banking, calling it usury. No one talks about this complete about face.

My guess is that the bank was originally designed to illegally transfer funds to the opposition in Communist countries. Laundering money was one of its primary functions, which helps explain why the Vatican did so little to stop it. But this is no longer necessary.

Legitimate banking needs could be by allowing two or three large commercial banks to open offices in Vatican City. They would not only pay for real estate, but they would probably pay significant licensing/registration fees. Banking violations, one of Pope Francis’ primary concerns when he took office, would disappear. Legitimate banking needs of Church personnel would be better served. Furthermore, the Vatican would probably generate much better returns from these arrangements than it gets from the Vatican Bank.

Are they too dumb to figure this out, or are criminal transactions so important to them?

 

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