What is known officially as The Institute for the Works of Religion gained a profit of 36 million euros (approximately $54 million) in 2016, according to its annual report. Commonly referred to as the Vatican bank, the Institute reported assets worth 5.7 billion euros at the end of 2016. These included deposits and investments from close to 15,000 clients – mostly Catholic religious orders around the world, Vatican offices and employees, and Catholic clergy.
The U.S. firm, Deloitte & Touche audited the Institute’s financial statements and were reviewed by the Commission of Cardinals overseeing the Institute's work. A June 12 statement of the bank declared that the profits will be given to the Holy See, which is to say the government of the Vatican under Pope Francis. None will be put in the Institute’s reserve account.
A report by the Institute indicated that most of its clients "are active in missions or perform charitable works at institutions such as schools, hospitals or refugee camps." That work is conducted all over the world, including "in countries with very basic infrastructure and underdeveloped banking and payment systems," which means they rely on the institute. The Institute transfers donations from wealthier nations to poor nations.
The report said, "Measured by assets entrusted, the most important group of clients was religious orders. They accounted for more than half of our client base in 2016 (54 percent), followed by Roman Curia departments, Holy See Offices and nunciatures (11 percent)." High-ranking clergy, including cardinals and bishops comprise about 8 percent of the client base, and another 8 percent is comprised of bishops' conferences, dioceses and parishes. The Institute counts among its assets various "gold, silver, medals and precious coins" valued at close to 33 million euros. "Gold is mainly deposited with the U.S. Federal Reserve, while medals and precious coins are kept in the IOR vaults," it said. IOR is the Italian acronym for the Institute for the Works of Religion.