Blogging Religiously

From a New York point of view

Churches have to make mortgages, too

Posted by: Gary Stern - Posted in Church foreclosures, Religion News Service on Mar 23, 2009

Are churches facing foreclosures?

What does it mean when they do?

Religion News Service’s Daniel Burke looks at what’s happening out there. His article includes this:


“There is definitely a trend,” said Dan Mikes, a banker who has specialized in church loans for 18 years at Bank of the West in Walnut Creek, Calif. “Historically, there were no (church) foreclosures.”

Bankers considered churches a pretty safe bet, said Mikes. Passing the plate provides a steady source of income, church budgets are flexible and religious folks pay banks back.

“I compare it to a racehorse and a plough horse,” said Kelly Archer, president of the Church Loans & Investment Trust in Amarillo, Texas. “Church loans have always been the plough horse. They never got the headlines, never were the big kid on the block.”

That all changed in the late 1990s, bankers say, around the same time subprime mortgages and McMansions became hot. Churches competed to keep up with Pastor Jones across the street.