by Jac La Tour
The difference between banks and financial cooperatives like ECCU isn’t a topic that usually attracts a lot of attention. Well, I couldn’t ignore an article in the most recent issue of The Christian Century titled “Where’s your church’s money?”
It starts by introducing the Move Your Money project, which urges “people to move their money from scandal-ridden megabanks to local institutions” like community banks and credit unions.
As if that wasn’t compelling enough, it introduced the Appleseed Fund, “which declared that it would no longer invest in…the five ‘too big to fail’ banks,” making it “the first socially responsible investing firm to exclude banks from its investments—in effect adding banking practices to other issues of moral concern, such as alcohol, tobacco, pornography, working conditions, environmental impact and weapons production.”
The more I read, the more tempted I was to holler “Amen!” Here are a couple more excerpts:
The new focus on banking practices forces us to consider banking as a moral issue. For many of us, choosing a bank is a matter of finding convenient branch locations, low fees and high interest rates on savings, CDs and mutual funds….I suspect this is how most churches choose their banks as well. We look for the best deal and then pat ourselves on the back for our good stewardship.
The challenge is that banking has a high level of invisibility. We deposit money and we withdraw money, but what the money does once it disappears into the bank is, or has been, largely invisible (and uninteresting) to us.
Before launching into a lengthy (but still compelling) discussion about the biblical view of usury, the article raises an important question: “Can churches become more discerning about where they keep their money?”
The question raises another that we’ve been asking more often these days: Do you know how your deposits are being used? Because ECCU is a financial cooperative comprised entirely of evangelical Christian ministries and individuals, we can respond by saying that our deposits are always used to resource ministries and never for causes contrary to Scripture.
It’s encouraging to hear a conversation like this in a national venue. What do you think? How concerned should ministries be about what happens with their deposits?