Vatican Bank exorcises accounts after massive fall in its earnings

Pope Francis
The Vatican Bank has been hit by years of scandal

The Vatican Bank yesterday announced it had blocked the accounts of more than 2,000 clients and ended some 3,000 “customer relationships” as it reported net profits of just €2.9m (£2.3m) for 2013, down from €86.6m in 2012.

The bank has been hit by years of scandal, including money laundering allegations, and is about to be restructured with a new president and a new board.

All but about 400 of the 3,000 terminated accounts were “dormant” with small balances. A further 359 customer relationships are due to be terminated after staff and outside experts found they did not meet the criteria for holding accounts at the bank, which has about 15,500 customers, some with more than one account.

The stated purpose of the bank, founded in 1942 as the Institute for Works of Religion, is to manage money for the Church, religious orders, charities and Vatican employees.

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