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Banking in Vatican city

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Within the Vatican is the only branch of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR), otherwise known as the Vatican bank. Its ATM uses Latin.

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.

The Institute for the Works of Religion (Italian: Istituto per le Opere di Religione – IOR), commonly known as the Vatican Bank, is a privately held institute situated exclusively on the sovereign territory of the Vatican State and run by a Board of Superintendence which reports to a Supervisory Commission of Cardinals and the Pope. The Bank Identifier Code of the Institute for the Works of Religion is IOPRVAVX. Since 09 July 2014, its president is Jean-Baptiste de Franssu. The IOR is regulated by the Vatican's financial supervisory body AIF ("Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria")

The institute was founded by papal decree of Pope Pius XII in June 1942. Its assets are not the property of the Holy See, and therefore it is outside the jurisdiction of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

In June 2012, the IOR gave a first presentation of its operations. In July 2013, the Institute launched its own website. On 1 October 2013 it also published its first-ever annual report which has been available for download since then.

On 24 June 2013, Pope Francis created a special investigative Pontifical Commission (CRIOR) to study IOR reform. On 7 April 2014, Pope Francis approved respective recommendations on the IOR's future which were jointly developed by the CRIOR and COSEA commissions and the IOR's management. "The IOR will continue to serve with prudence and provide specialized financial services to the Catholic Church worldwide", as the Vatican release stated.

On 7 April 2014, Pope Francis approved a proposal on the Institute's future, "reaffirming the importance of the IOR’s mission for the good of the Catholic Church, the Holy See and the Vatican City State", as it was stated in the Vatican's Statement

Christian finance belongs to the category of religious ethical finance, like Islamic finance. Christian finance is characterized by the existence of three dimensions: personal dimension (actors), operational dimension (operations), dogmatic dimension (principles).

Although not widely used, the notion of "Christian finance" refers to banking and financial activities which came into existence several centuries ago. Whether the activities of the Knights Templar (12th century), Mounts of Piety (appeared in 1462) or the Apostolic Chamber attached directly to the Vatican, a number of operations of a banking nature (money loan, guarantee, etc..) or a financial nature (issuance of securities, investments) is proved, despite the prohibition of usury and the Church distrust against exchange activities (opposed to production activities).

In modern times, if the Catholic clerical finance continues to be on center stage through the Vatican Bank (IOR), many Catholic lay financial players also exist, both in Germany (e.g. Pax Bank,[3] Liga Bank,[4] Darlehenskasse DKM) or the United States of America (e.g. Catholic Family Federal Credit Union, Holy Rosary Credit Union). Many other reformed Christian actors exist (e.g. Christian Community Credit Union, Kingdom Bank).

In France, if the General Union presented ostensibly as a Catholic credit institution, today, social finance (non-religious ethical finance) seems to have completely replaced Christian finance (e.g. Credit coopératif, Caisses de crédit municipal). However, with regard to ethical principles implemented and their historically Catholic origin, many actors of the solidarity finance can be attached to the category of Christian finance ("Catho-compatible players").


Financial products

If certain financial transactions were explicitly condemned because they circumvented the prohibition of usury (e.g. Mohatra contract), the operations of contemporary Catholic bank is characterized by their search for solidarity and the distribution of benefits in favor of poors. For example, Liga Bank offers credit cards whose commissions are donated to charities supporting children.

Principles

As Islamic finance, Catholic finance claims to supervise banking operations and financial activities with moral principles directly from the interpretation of Christian religious texts (Bible) and from the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church (Treaty of virtues and vices, Catholic social teaching). Also, since the subprime financial crisis, it was found that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace took more often positions on financial matters. In October 2011, was published a note "Reform of the international financial system with a view toward a general public Authority".

In his book "Catholic Finance" (in French: “Finance catholique”), Antoine Cuny de la Verryère presents seven principles for a Catholic finance (named "princificats"). Some of them are inspired from the principles of Islamic finance: prohibition of short-termism, prohibition of non-virtuous investment, obligation to give priority to virtuous savings, prohibition of unjust profits, obligation to share profits, obligation of transparency, and obligation of financial exemplary

The unique, noncommercial economy of Vatican City is supported financially by contributions (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.

Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano; a walled enclave within the city of Rome, with an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of 842, is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world by both area and population.

Within Vatican City are cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.Website: http://w2.vatican.va/content/vatican/it.html


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