Guest / Limited Access /

With this year's battering of Wall Street financiers, Christian-owned banks, credit unions, and investment houses are looking like a safer place for investors and ministries to park their money.

Deposits are up 12 percent this year at the Evangelical Christian Credit Union (ECCU). While the stock market was suffering its worst one-day loss since 2001 in September, the Christian Community Credit Union (CCCU) added 200 accounts, swelling its membership to nearly 30,000.

"We don't do residential mortgages or investment vehicles that have underlying mortgages," commented Mark Holbrook, president of ECCU, which manages $3 billion in assets. "We do banking and loans for ministries. The vast majority of churches and ministries are fundamentally sound."

"We've never made any subprime loans," said CCCU CEO John Walling, pointing out it has had no write-offs in 32 years of offering church or ministry loans.* "We have very low losses; our delinquencies are less than one percent."

The problem is centered on the housing sector and at Wall Street's upper echelons, said Rusty Leonard, founder and CEO of Stewardship Partners Investment Counsel of Matthews, North Carolina.

Since there isn't much representation of Christian financial firms in those arenas, he doesn't expect to see much impact from the Wall Street mess.

"Christian firms, financial and otherwise, are generally better off because they tend to avoid debt and speculative practices," Leonard said.

There are exceptions. Two Christian-owned banks in Atlanta have failed since last year, most recently Integrity Bank in late August.

Whether the Christian financial industry could imitate Wall Street's merger climate remains to be seen. While no one Christianity Today spoke to was aware of any ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueWhen God Is Strange and Awful
Subscriber Access Only
When God Is Strange and Awful
Victor Lee Austin was living a Song of Songs life. Then he learned what it’s like to become Job.
RecommendedBlue-Collar Contentment
Blue-Collar Contentment
A parent's lesson from where providence meets the American dream.
TrendingBlessed Are the Agnostics
Blessed Are the Agnostics
How I learned to see my unbelieving husband through God’s eyes.
Editor's PickWhy the Local Church Is Trending Up
Why the Local Church Is Trending Up
We needn't be afraid about the future of our congregations.
Christianity Today
Christian Financial World Sees Silver Lining in Banking Mess
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2008

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.