Vatican Plans Major Overhaul of Secretive Bank

Pope shakes up management at little-regulated Vatican bank
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 4:43 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI meets cardinals in the Clementine hall at the Vatican.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
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(Newser) – The Vatican bank—so secretive it makes Swiss bankers seem chatty—is getting a major revamp as part of Pope Benedict XVI's campaign for transparency. Italian economist Ettori Tedeschi has been appointed the new chief executive—replacing someone who's been in the post 20 years—and the bank's supervisory board has been reconstituted. "It's a delicate post," says one Vatican official. "We expect deep change."

The bank is regulated only by a small group of cardinals and, ultimately, the pontiff. Abusive practices stemming from a lack of oversight have emerged at the bank over the years, and Tedeschi's predecessor—the first non-cleric to run the bank—was appointed in the late '80s to clean up after a major scandal, in which the Vatican paid $250 million for contributing to the collapse of another bank, notes the Wall Street Journal. (Read more banking stories.)