New York Times article on church foreclosures

December 27, 2008

Thanks to Brian Thornton for this link:

Hundreds of churches across the country have received foreclosure notices in recent months, and even more are behind on mortgage payments.

But borrowing by churches became more common in the 1990s, reaching $28 billion nationwide in 2006, including mortgages, construction loans and church bonds,

The rise of nondenominational churches and a resurgence in the evangelical movement also led to more religious institutions seeking to borrow.

Foreclosure filings have fallen on the doorstep of 254 properties, or 0.31 percent of the 82,441 churches studied. The percentage is higher when churches without mortgages are excluded.

In one such filing, by the Church Loan and Investments Trust in Amarillo, Tex., nonperforming church loans increased 14 percent for the quarter that ended on Sept. 30, compared with the quarter a year earlier.

There’s a lot that’s interesting about this article, but it would be stronger if the numbers were only for churches with mortgages: are default rates for churches higher or lower than for business loans? For other non-profits with similar budgets? Etc. And how do foreclosures break down and a percentage of mortgages per denomination?

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