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The Vatican bank said Monday its profit soared by more than 20 times last year as it recovered from a trading loss and continued its reform process away from its scandal-marred past.

The bank, officially called the Institute for Religious Works, said it earned $76 million in 2014, up from $3.2m the previous year.

Profits were also boosted by a drop in operating costs. In 2013, operating expenses jumped by almost $9 million as it paid outside consultants to help review its client base and bring it into compliance with anti-money-laundering norms.

That review resulted in some 4,600 accounts being closed, either because they were dormant or because clients no longer fit the revised client base approved by the bank's board, which include religious orders, Catholic institutions, clerics, employees or former employees of the Vatican, as well as embassies and diplomats accredited to the Holy See.

Bank President Jean-Baptiste de Franssu said the bank's focus now is to improve services to its remaining 15,181 account holders.

De Franssu was named president last summer as the bank, which has been caught up in money-laundering probes over the years by Italian magistrates, began the second phase of a reform process aimed at cleaning up its operations.

- The Associated Press