State closes church-run credit union for 'unsound' operations

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Larry Nelson's picture

Church-run credit unions number about 500:

"There are roughly 500 around the nation, set up in church basements and donated office space, and staffed mostly by volunteers. Most, but not all, are affiliated with churches in low-income neighborhoods.

Faith-based credit unions are run independently of their parent churches, however, and are federally chartered and monitored just like thousands of other, more traditional, credit unions. As a group, they have more than $2 billion in assets.

They represent a variety of faiths and denominations, including Protestant, Catholic and Muslim, officials with the National Credit Union Administration say." 

(Read the entire article for more.)

Larry Nelson's picture

Notice the merger of credit union and church information on this webpage (complete with a photo of the pastor in the upper right corner).  The two entities are virtually indistinguishable: 

Next take a look at the pastor's education & background: 

"Reverend James was educated in New York City's Public School System.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.  He studied Economics at the master level for one year.  Following college, he worked as a Management Information Analyst and Accountant for Bankers Trust Company in New York City.  He also worked as a Financial Planner at New York  Life Insurance Company.

In 1985, Reverend James responded to God's call to ministry and left his job, family and friends to enter the Seminary.  He graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Methodist Theological School, Delaware, Ohio in 1988.  That same year, Reverend James was ordained by the American Baptist Churches of Metro, New York and the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.  Rev. James earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio in 1993, where he was a Samuel D. Proctor - Otis Moss Jr. Fellow.  He served as Pastor of churches in Ohio and New York prior to the call to Mount Zion Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana."

So he has a background in finance.

Richard Brunt's picture

When I was in college there was a Fundamental Baptist Church that owned a gas station.  I'm not sure it they bought it or it was donated to them.

Richard E Brunt

Joel Shaffer's picture

The reason that inner-city churches are involved in establishing credit unions and economic corporations is because of our country's history of housing and economic discrimination within the inner-cities as banks refused loans to African-Americans up until 1968 (when housing and bank laws were enacted to prevent discrimination) Even today, there is a lack of access to financial institutions within impoverished urban communities because banks don't do business in communities that don't have capital (banks need to make money too)  Therefore, there has been a pressing need for non-profit economic corporations and credit unions that can provide loans for homeownership and small businesses in depressed communities.  For the most part, these faith-based economic corporations and credit unions have been a positive catalyst for stabilizing impoverished communities in jump-starting homeownership and providing capital for small businesses.    In fact, I believe there needs more of this going among the poor so that they can learn to use the free-market economic system to break out of poverty as an alternative to many aspects of the welfare system that creates dependency.   Most of the urban poor that I know are much more familiar with the government welfare system rather than how a free-market economic system works.   

It looks as if the Greater Christ Credit Union was not a separate entity from the church, which would pose many problems.