Best practices: insurance review and planning

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The loan underwriting process is centered on determining the level of risk associated with each ministry. As a part of that risk management process, we inquire about the amount of debt, cash reserves, as well as the limits and type of insurance coverage the ministry maintains.

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Does it make sense to refinance right now? (Even though you might be facing a prepayment penalty)

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If you haven’t already heard while listening to the evening news, the 15-year historic graphs indicate that while interest rates are still relatively low, they might have bottomed and be on their way up. While many think rates are likely to increase in the future, no one knows how much they will rise or when. Now might prove to be a good time to refinance existing debt and secure a long-term fixed rate if possible.

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Planning for retirement: it’s your choice

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“Do I buy a car or lease one?” “Do I work to pay for my education — or my children’s — or do I take out a loan?” “Do I rent an apartment or buy a house?” For each of these questions, making the right decision depends on a number of factors that are unique to you. But one financial question leaves us with very few choices: “Do I save for retirement?”

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Religious institution financing truths—regardless of the lending climate

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As the business administrator of a religious institution, you don’t need to be an experienced commercial developer to get a construction loan — you just need an expert ministry bank.

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Church audits: know the 4 V’s

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Depending on your role at the church, you’ll hear the word “audit” and come to one of two conclusions:

If you’re the finance manager, you understand the need for the substantiation of the integrity of the data — even though an audit can add to your already busy workload.

If you’re the pastor, it comes down to one word: “Why?” The financials are written in what appears to be a foreign language, and they don’t seem to help as you try to make good, mission-critical decisions, anyway.

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Protecting your church and religious organization against fraud

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Now more than ever, all organizations are exposed to risk, including cyber security breaches and internal fraud. Religious institutions — which strive on building a trusting relationship with their members and employees on the foundation of religious beliefs, coupled with tight budgets and limited financial oversight — are even more vulnerable to fraud and abuse.

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Financial planning tools for clergy and church administrators

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The statistics on Americans and retirement planning are staggering. More than half of us do not know how much we will need to live a comfortable retirement, and 60 percent have saved less than $25,000. For clergy, the economics of retirement can be even more challenging.

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Performance bonds: beneficial or a waste of money?

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For most of my professional career, I have been anti-performance and payment bond-oriented. To me, they seem like such a waste of money. In short, they’re just an insurance policy (although the Surety industry would say they are not “insurance” but rather a “guarantee” — semantics!) in the unlikely event the general contractor on a job is unable to complete the project (usually due to a bankruptcy or other major catastrophe related to the contractor). In theory, that sounds great. It almost feels like the proverbial “Get Out Of Jail” card. But is it really?

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Dollar’s dollars: restricted gifts and abandoned projects

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Televangelist Creflo Dollar recently came under fire for asking that 200,000 of his followers donate $300 each to buy a $60-million luxury jet for his use. In the wake of bad publicity associated with the request, it appears that he may have cancelled the campaign before reaching his goal. The problem is: What happens to money already collected?

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Fraud prevention: are you doing all you can?

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Banks are in the business of risk management — so, who better to help your ministry manage fraud and the onslaught of cybercrime making news almost every day?

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