Christian Savings has been on a massive journey of change since 2014. Back in the day, Baptist Savings borrowed money from Baptist churches and people, and lent to other Baptist churches. It was like a small mutual society, which the great and the good in the financial world were not remotely interested in.
Then came the global financial crisis of 2008, and everything changed. A wealth of new legislation came from Wellington. The regulators of the financial world are now very interested in Christian Savings, and require an annual credit rating, monthly reports to a corporate trustee (their brief is to protect the depositors), and a product disclosure statement (like a prospectus). Also, there must be verification that depositors are who they say they are, and are not using money illegally!
Needless to say, these changes have not come cheap, and about $1.5 million has been spent on legal fees. The annual legal budget used to be $5,000… phew!
However, Christian Savings is still here and now almost three times as big as a decade ago. Growth was necessary, in order to afford to continue.
Christian Savings is the last remaining lender who specialises in lending to the Christian community. The name change from Baptist Savings to Christian Savings reflects the growing and widening portfolio. Increasingly, other denominations and independent churches see the value in what is provided, as shown by their willingness to invest.
Perhaps it is because Christian Savings doesn’t run hot and cold on the church sector, like some of the major banks have done, and any surpluses serve to expand the ability to lend and support churches in the future. Christian Savings understands the challenges that churches and Christian organisations face, and also understands their strengths in a way that the banks don’t. Banks think that churches are high risk; Christian Savings knows that they are not, and hence have only ever foreclosed on a defaulting borrower three times in over sixty years of trading.
God has been gracious on this wild ride, and so have Assembly Council who have seen more of Christian Savings in the last two years than in the previous twenty. Christian Savings values the trust extended from Assembly Council, and the ongoing faith that Baptist depositors and borrowers show in them. Despite everything, Christian Savings is here to stay.