PSDS becomes part of Baptist Savings
“That together you may
with one voice glorify the
God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Romans 15:6
The Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways.
Not so long ago, the Board of Baptist Savings moved to provide loans to other denominations. That, in many ways, prepared the way for a groundbreaking agreement between Baptist Savings and the Presbyterian Savings and Development Society.
Andrew L’Almont, Baptist Savings Business Development Manager, said that recent changes to the Non-Bank Deposit Takers Act and the Securities Act – and a big increase in costs – prompted PSDS to enter into negotiations. As a consequence, Baptist Savings will absorb PSDS’s depositors book,while extending loans to Presbyterian churches.
PSDS holds deposits of $42 million, and their depositors will be given the option of transferring their monies over to Baptist Savings. Baptist Savings will ensure that Presbyterian churches receive preferential rates equivalent to those enjoyed by Baptist churches and others under the Baptist Savings umbrella.
The Board of PSDS decided that, in light of significantly increased costs from risk compliance and anti-money laundering legislation, PSDS should find alternative arrangements to maintain a line of funding for Presbyterian churches and grants.
“We’re extremely honoured that they identified and chose Baptist Savings to be that partner,” Andrew L’Almont said. “By coming together we are made stronger in our efforts to contribute to the advancement of God’s Kingdom on earth.”
For Baptist Savings depositors and borrowers, nothing changes. PSDS depositors who wish to leave their money with Baptist Savings, to ensure the Presbyterian Church building programme continues uninterrupted, may continue to do so.
Presbyterian churches will continue to have access to secured loans and the same low interest rates enjoyed by other churches under the Baptist Savings banner.
Presbyterian depositors who wish to withdraw their funds have until 31 October 2014 to do so.
PSDS general manager welcomes Baptist Savings agreement
Simon Bilton, General Manager of Presbyterians Savings and Development Society, said PSDS is extremely pleased with the arrangement that has been reached with Baptist Savings.
“This means continuity of preferential loans for Presbyterian parishes from an organisation that understands the needs of the church. It is also good to honour our depositors right the way through and to ensure that people still have a way to contribute to the church. The only difference is just that we are not running it.
“I think it is an agreement that makes the Baptist Savings vision even more solid and really is a good win-win for everybody concerned.”
Simon said that the agreement was important for PSDS depositors so the purpose of their deposits with PSDS continues to be honoured.
“If we went with a commercial lender, their money would be used for things other than building new churches, and that was not what they signed up for,” Simon said. “Baptist Savings has the same ethos as PSDS – they’ve been around a long time, a lot longer than we have, and in that time they put together what seems like a pretty solid foundation.”
Simon said he was particularly pleased with the high level of goodwill between the two organisations. No agreement would have been reached without it.
“The goodwill from Baptist Savings was far higher than from other organisations we dealt with,” he said. “In addition, I think some of the extra things that Baptist Savings does that we did not – such as offering financial seminars and insurance products, in particular – will add value to our parishes.”
Simon said that if PSDS had continued to run the organisation to the letter of the law, they would not have made the surpluses that fund the organisation’s grants programme over the next two or three years.
“The grants programme is very important to PSDS, because it supports things like the ministry internship,” Simon said. “We want to continue it, and it is going to be the central part of four programme moving forward.”
Baptist leadership welcomes cross-denominational agreement
Craig Vernall, Baptist Churches of New Zealand National Leader, welcomed the agreement that Baptist Savings has reached with PSDS.
“It is tremendous to be able to partner with the Presbyterians as we extend the kingdom in New Zealand. We both have strong evangelical traditions, and supporting faithbased projects such as building new churches is something that we share in common.
“I think it is an agreement that makes the Baptist Savings vision even more solid and really is a good win-win for everybody concerned.” – Simon Bilton
“We are all on the same page, and by combining our strengths we are more effective together.”
Craig said that cross-denominational agreements are not that unusual.
“In regards our superannuation scheme, we have partnered with the Apostolic Church movement of New Zealand in recent years. That is one example of us working across denominations at a higher administrative level, while we join with a number of churches in working together through the New Zealand Christian Network to make sure the Christian voice is heard at Government level,” he said.
Baptist Savings Chairman: “It’s a mission shared”
Baptist Savings chairman Graham Shaw says the agreement with PSDS strengthens Baptist Savings in a time of increased regulatory control and compliance costs.
“With the really tight controls of today and further anticipated changes in the regulatory regime that are now happening, we foresaw the need for Baptist Savings to be bigger and stronger. While we have made tremendous progress in building up that strength, this agreement has given us an ability to scale more quickly than we had anticipated.
“One of the things that was really nice for me through this process is to see that what PSDS stood for, was very much what Baptist Savings stood for.”
Graham said that the two organisations are very well aligned in terms of what they want to do, and that this agreement enables those objectives to be continued to be met for both Presbyterian and Baptist churches.
“I have to say that it was an absolute pleasure working with the PSDS board and with their General Manager throughout this process,” he said.
PSDS Chairman delighted to ensure continuity
PSDS Chairman of the Board of Directors, George Wadsworth, said that the organisation is very pleased to reach an agreement that ensures Presbyterian Churches will continue to receive development loans at affordable rates.
“We have been negotiating with Baptist Savings for some months, about them taking over our business because of the new restrictive regulations; and we are very pleased to have got an agreement, not least because Baptist Savings has the same aims and objectives as the PSDS.
“It is so much easier and better to deal with another church organisation that knows how churches operate, rather than banks, which charge more and are not so flexible in their dealings.” – George Wadsworth
“I am delighted that the loans that the PSDS has made to Presbyterian parishes will be treated in the same way as Baptist church loans. We are certain that the Presbyterians and other churches that have dealt with the PSDS will get the same terms and conditions as the Baptist Savings give Baptist churches, which is a very satisfactory outcome for us.”
George said he is both hopeful and optimistic that Presbyterian depositors from PSDS will embrace Baptists Savings as they have PSDS, and will continue to support the wider church by keeping their deposits with Baptist Savings.
“We note that Robin Guy is a director of Baptist Savings. He was of course also the manager and secretary of PSDS for 18 years, and formed very strong links with the PSDS’s directors and Presbyterians over the years.
“In effect this means that there is still a way to help Presbyterians and other churches through the Baptist Savings. It is so much easier and better to deal with another church organisation that knows how churches operate, rather than banks which charge more and are not so flexible in their dealings,” he said.
General Manager: “Baptist Savings made stronger”
Baptist Savings General Manager John Smeaton said that the agreement with PSDS would increase Baptist Savings’ deposits under management from $90 million to between at least $115 to $120 million.
“This is designed to make us stronger in what is a far more tightly regulated environment than ever before,” John said. “We will have additional capability to cover the increased compliance costs coming this year, while future borrowers are more assured of having loan funds available to meet their needs.
“Depositors can also take more comfort from our inherent strength.”
John said the exact amount of deposits that will come over from PSDS will only be finalised after the organisation has received confirmation from all PSDS depositors. Baptist Savings would also take over PSDS loan book which is around $15 million.
“A letter will be going out to everybody to explain what is happening, how and when,” John said.
Increased compliance and regulatory steps that Baptist Savings has to take on – following amendments to the Non-Bank Deposit Takers Act and the Securities Act – include a trust deed, an independent trustee and more staff.
“We also have to apply for a credit rating and publish an online register similar to a prospectus,” John said. “With a few small exemptions, we are basically operating in the same environment as the private sector. One thing depositors can be assured of, is that everything is continuing to be managed in their favour.”
Here’s what you can expect
By Andrew L’Almont
Business Development Manager
Welcome to all our Presbyterian depositors and friends who join us here at Baptist Savings from the Presbyterian Savings and Development Society – we are very excited to have you, and we have a bunch of stuff we want to share with you.
We believe that Baptist Savings is a wonderful organisation to be associated with. For the past three years we have worked tirelessly to help make the Church more relevant to the day-to-day financial lives of ordinary New Zealanders. By coming on board with Baptist Savings, you receive a number of benefits:
• The Baptist Savings Funeral plan – not subject to a WINZ asset test if you go into residential care, and the money is put to good use building Presbyterian churches until it is needed.
• Access to Financial Health Checks, Investment and Business seminars. More than 4,000 people have been positively impacted by learning financial smarts in these seminars.
• The Baptist Savings Loyalty Card entitles depositors and seminar attendees to discounts from branded retailers throughout New Zealand, including cost plus 10% prices from Noel Leeming.
• A state-of-the-art website packed full of tips and financial smarts. • A life insurance policy for Baptist and Presbyterian pastors (Presbyterian pastors potentially funded by PSDS grants).
• A regular Good Investor newsletter.
• Advertising on Radio Rhema.
All these products and services can be personalised to reflect Presbyterian interests and can in fact be run by Presbyterian people themselves under my coaching.
Once again, welcome! I look forward to getting to know you better.