Refinancing a new build place of worship
To support more flexible premises for a thriving church and busy community

The cause

Founded in Coventry in 1936, Christian Life Ministries (CLM) is a Pentecostal church that welcomes all nationalities and age groups. When their core congregation grew to 300, they knew they needed to scale-up. So major development of the site began in 2010.

Our support

The new property opened in 2011, thanks to fundraising by the Church’s supporters, and bridging finance. CLM chose us to refinance the existing bridging finance of £1.8m. 

As well as our competitive pricing and terms, CLM liked our personal approach and high level of engagement. Plus, they appreciated our deep understanding of the charitable sector, and our enthusiasm for supporting it in the long-term – something the high street banks couldn’t quite compete with.

From the outset, the Church knew that over time it wanted to reduce the loan substantially. The agreed 25 year payment profile showed sustainability, giving both the Church and us confidence in its affordability. We are thrilled that they have worked to repay us earlier than planned, with the loan repaid in just over six years.

We found the combination of [CAF Bank's] understanding, attractive commercial terms and professionalism to be compelling.

Matthew Davis
Christian Life Ministries

Christian Life Ministries' church building

The impact

Part church, part conference space, ‘The Welcome Centre’ is a spot where the local community can come together, and where local businesses and public sector bodies can hold meetings and events. 

Of course, it’s also where members of the Church can follow in the footsteps of those who started worshipping with CLM when it first started almost a century ago. The Church provides genuine community and fellowship, as well as supporting a whole range of social actions to tackle poverty and ensure a sustainable city.

Project takeaways

The loan affordability test

The affordability of a loan is absolutely critical to both the borrower and lender. It’s part of the trustee’s duty and a requirement for the bank. 

CLM showed affordability in two ways: first of all, with a ‘base’ agreement showing the loan could be repaid over a longer period; and also by having a clear strategy linking planned enhancements in their services to a reduction in debt. This freed up funds to pay for them.

Importance of transparency

Transparency with the Church’s membership was absolutely critical to repaying the loan early; as was working with a bank which not only allows overpayments and reductions, but celebrates the success of them. The CLM plan would have allowed them to maintain a much more affordable level of repayments if funds hadn’t been available or if circumstances had been different. 

We can’t wait to see what this determined Church achieves next.

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