Pontiff’s scepticism about capitalism may not have been everyone’s favourite topic. Atleast not to the ‘solely money and profit’ minded people. But i am glad more financial professionals are beginning to spot the need to show concern about human welfare and advancement. Some may wonder, “Why much effort to focus on showing love for humanity in a world where showing some compassion is close to none?” The answer is right there-” It’s starts with you, anywhere, anytime!” It’s starts with everyone. I agree, this may may not be easy as it sounds, especially in a world where people are mostly profit oriented and all that matters to most is money, power, technology and materials. Inequality in today’s society and the growing gap between the rich and the poor is no news to our ears. The imbalance of distribution of wealth is sharply visible.
Nevertherless, Pope Francis criticism on money and wealth matters is a reflection of what he himself has already gone through. I like to think that he is preaching what he practices and vice versa. This for example is reflected in the case of the Vatican Bank (also known as ‘The Institute For the Works of Religion (IOR)’ ), where the private bank was linked to money laundering, financing terrorism and tax evasion. Pope Francis worked further on the reform efforts started by his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI to ensure that the bank was complying with international banking standards and other transparency rules. Among his actions, he also replaced many bank’s advisors and to mend it’s secretive ways. Although Pope Francis went beyond making the bank more open in its business dealings and changing its mission to emphasize helping the poor, the best economic news were that the private bank tremendously improved and is making huge profits.
(More on ‘Reforming The Vatican Bank’ can be found on the Huffington Post)
Indeed, the Pope’s criticism was warmly welcome by a few financial institutions professionals at the wall street. Of course this is not to say that they waited until the Pope said something. In fact, certain corporations and financial instituitions had already started doing this. And through his criticism on this issue, many more are now slowly taking part in philanthropy and social investments and are striving to impact the society in a positive way. More organisations are taking part in the sustainable social investments. In fact when it comes to investment banks and financial institution catering for the poor and needy, i like to give a practical example of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women. I followed up on their citizenship program especially in underserved economies like Africa and parts of Asia and South America, where the instituition empowered women entrepreneurs in Africa by giving them access to an educational training and enabled them to start sustainable businesses.
On another article by K.J. McElrath, i fully agree with the author that Pope Francis actions of eliminating a few traditional practices in the banking industry is simply a way of sending a strong message to the for-profit banking industry, to show them that profit making and considering the needs of low-income people can be done without oppressing them. In third world countries, even though micro finances are proving that banking with the poor can be successful, i strongly believe the traditional banking institutions should rethink their ways of catering for the underserved economies and aggressively take part in addressing the issues of poverty and social justice.