WHAT IS A CHURCH BOND?
A church bond is a debt instrument — a promise to repay a debt. Ziegler’s fixed-rate bond issues for churches and private church-sponsored schools (we refer to both as “church bonds”) allow these organizations to fund activities such as acquiring property, constructing new facilities, renovating existing facilities or refinancing existing debt.
These loans typically range in size from a minimum of $1 million to nearly $25 million. Access to Ziegler financing enables churches to grow and attract new members. Strong churches strengthen the social fabric of communities through the various ministries and service activities they undertake.
To fund these loans, Ziegler sell church bonds to investors, who become “bondholders.” The principal the bondholders invest is loaned to the church that has issued the bonds, and each bondholder receives a fixed rate of fully taxable interest, payable semiannually, on the principal they have invested.1
These bonds are issued in book-entry, which means no physical certificate is issued. Church bonds are issued in denominations of $1,000, and the minimum investment is $5,000.
ATTRACTIVE RATES OF INTEREST INCOME
Ziegler church bonds have the potential to bring an attractive rate of regular interest income. Interest is payable to bondholders each six months until their bond matures or is called for early redemption.1
SELECT UNDERWRITING CRITERIA
The churches issuing bonds through Ziegler represent a variety of denominations; however, churches are approved for Ziegler’s financing program based on their creditworthiness.
Several conservative criteria have been developed to evaluate credit quality, including these:
- The church’s historic revenue base
- The church’s prospects for growth
- Strength of the church/school management
- Number of members
- Value of the assets pledged to secure the proposed bondsAnalysis of any school operations
Church bonds underwritten by Ziegler are typically secured by a first mortgage lien on the property of the issuer. In the event that an issuer ever becomes unable to meet its financial obligations to its bondholders, the bondholders have first mortgage collateral in the form of the church’s land, buildings and other property. While these bonds are secured by collateral, they are typically non-rated and may not be suitable for all investors. Church bonds are subject to certain risks, including the issuer’s ability to pay interest and principal on a timely basis and market price fluctuation on the bonds related to changes in the general interest rate market. Ziegler’s church financing specialists have extensive experience in evaluating the financial strength and appropriate debt service capacity of churches and private schools; they concentrate solely on working with these types of not-for-profit borrowers.
CHOICES TO FIT YOUR NEEDS
Ziegler-underwritten church bonds are issued as serial bonds, with stated maturities (terms) ranging from six months to 30 years. You can choose a bond with the maturity that fits your investment objectives. Short-term bonds generally pay lower rates of interest, while longer-term bonds yield higher rates. Regardless of which maturity, principal is returned to bondholders at that time. Ziegler’s church bond issues can typically be called in whole or in part on the first day of any month, at the option of the church or school that issued the bonds. Although it is not required to do so, Ziegler typically maintains a secondary market in the church bonds it underwrites. While many people consider church bonds a buy-and hold investment, bondholders who wish to sell their bond prior to its maturity may contact Ziegler regarding resale.2
ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
Contact your Ziegler financial advisor to obtain a free prospectus for any new Ziegler-underwritten bond, or to discuss how our unique products and services can help you meet your financial goals.
1 There is no guarantee that the borrower will be able to make payments of principal and interest, as scheduled.
2 All bonds fluctuate in value and investors should remember that as interest rates rise, prices of outstanding fixed-income securities tend to fall. Long-term bonds are generally more exposed to interest rate risk than short-term bonds.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Yield and market values will fluctuate if the bonds are sold prior to maturity and the investor may receive more or less than their original cost. This document does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to purchase or sell any type of security described herein.