Friday, 9 August 2013
IOR ("Vatican Bank") new website
The Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR), in a very sensible move, has set up its own website to give basic information and act as a point of contact for the media. The IOR is often referred to as "The Vatican Bank" but strictly speaking it is not a bank because it does not use deposits to lend money. (The question of whether it should become a bank is one of those raised by Pope Francis.)
In the nature of the case, the website is not the most exciting in the world, though it does have a pleasant minimalist design. There is quite a lot of information and plenty of links to relevant documents. The media section collects together recent press releases for convenience.
The principal function of the IOR is to look after assets transferred to it by Catholic institutions. 85% of its assets under management are from Catholic institutions such as religious orders, dioceses and the Holy See itself.
When looking at large numbers, especially concerning the Church and money, it is always useful to make comparisons. In 2012 the IOR had has assets under management of 7.1 billion euro (£6.1 billion). The Private Bank arm of HSBC, just to take an example, is over 50 times larger in that respect, having had $494 billion (£318 billion) under management in 2007 according to the Wikipedia article for HSBC. (Oh, and HSBC has also been accused of money laundering.)