Vatican Bank


Vatican Bank (Istituto per le Opere di Religione – IOR), Banca Vaticana, was founded on June 27, 1942 by Pope Pius XII and is located inside the Vatican City. Only Vatican employees and religious institutions are allowed to open accounts in the bank — which you’d think would make it the most moral bank in the world. IOR has about $8 billion in assets and serves approximately 34,000 accounts through a distribution network in 100 countries. The Bank offers ATMs with transactions in Latin. In 2011, the Holy See had revenue of approximately $309 million with $326 million in expenditures. All IOR's accounts are identified only by number. “The IOR is not a bank in the normal definition of the term,” wrote Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi in a recent letter to the Financial Times. In fact, it doesn't lend money or act as a consultant to businesses. It is more a fund deposit and transfer institution than a bank. IOR doesn't invest in the stock market, though they operate on the currency or bond market, or buy gold. To trade in world markets it must go through other banks, such as the Credito Artigiano. The Bank is run by a professional bank CEO who reports directly to a committee of cardinals, and ultimately to the Pope. Its assets are not considered property of the Holy See and it is not overseen by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy, instead it's considered a charitable foundation affiliated with the Vatican. The Institute was involved in a major political and financial scandal in the 1980s, concerning the 1982 $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, of which it was a major share-holder. The head of the Vatican Bank from 1971 to 1989, Father Paul Marcinkus, was under consideration for indictment in 1982 in Italy as an accessory of the bankruptcy; however, he was never brought to trial due to the Italian courts' ruling that the priest, being a high-ranking prelate of the Vatican, had diplomatic immunity from prosecution. In 2010, Benedict XVI established the Financial Information Authority as an independent agency to monitor the financial activities of the Vatican Bank and other Vatican-related institutions. The bank's President, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was removed from his post in May 2012, for dereliction of duty. Ernst Freiherr von Freyberg is a German manager and current President of the Vatican Bank.


- La Commissione Cardinalizia (Committee of cardinals) is composed of five cardinals appointed by the Pope.
- Il Prelato (Prelate) is appointed by the Committee of cardinals.
- Il Consiglio di Sovrintendenza (Supervisory Board) is responsible for the administration and management of the Institute. It is appointed by the Committee of Cardinals and is composed of five members, who serve for five years.
- La Direzione
- I Revisori (Auditors)

The Bank Identifier Code: IOPRVAVX