What Do You Think About Church Bonds?
Dear Bob, Have you been involved with church bonds? I have inherited a bond which has gone into default. The trustee petitioned the court to allow a restructuring of the loan by transferring the debt to a third party. It seems that the bond holders will not receive value owed on the bonds. Over a period of 15 to 30 years, the bond holders will receive some amount of their bond and interest but not all. The trustee says this will be better than a foreclosure on the original debt. Is this a common practice? Seems to me the trustee gets all of his cost and the bond holders do not.
This is a common practice for more debt markets than just church bonds. In fact, you can see something similar happening in Greece right now or another good example “will” be the State of Illinois. The bottom line is that the country, church, organization, etc. cannot pay the loan back. At this point, one of two things could occur. The organization, church, country, etc. could default and no one gets anything.
The entity could also go to the bond holders and restructure the debt. That is a fancy way of saying – you are not going to get what you have coming to you; however, something is better than nothing. Welcome to the Post Financial Crisis Environment of Debt!
So, what about church bonds? A church will issue a bond and borrow money from its congregation or other investors and agree to pay back the money with a fixed interest payment over a period of time and then return the principle at the end of the investment period. It works really like any other bond.
On the surface, loaning money to the church sounds like a great move. But a congregation can get caught up in the spirit of things and on blind faith and loan their money without once again doing the proper research and evaluation.
The bottom line is that it can be a great method for church financing. In this environment, you just have to be especially careful. Remember that oftentimes a church will go into a bond deal because they cannot get traditional financing. Don’t just trust! Do the due diligence ! Church and business don’t always mix well!!