Maybe it says “In God We Trust” on our currency, but it’s a financially risky strategy, as the “Christian-centered” Georgia-based Integrity Bank discovered as it came apart at the seams last week:
The Alpharetta-based bank, which opened its doors in 2000 with a Christian-centered philosophy, is the 10th U.S. bank to fail this year and the second Georgia institution to fail in the past 12 months.
As ranked by its total assets of $1.1 billion, Integrity becomes the third-largest bank failure in Georgia history.
Integrity is the second financial services firm with a Christian-centered theme to soar at one point only to crash and burn. HomeBanc Mortgage Corp. last year sought bankruptcy protection after it ran out of money.
Integrity’s employees regularly prayed before meetings or in branch lobbies with customers, while the bank gave 10 percent of its net income to charities.
“We felt if we prayed and obeyed God’s word and did what He asked, that He would help us be successful,” the bank’s founder, Steve Skow, told the Journal-Constitution in 2005. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Don’t get me wrong. I am not mocking this bank for having a conscience or their commitment to their community. My pension money is invested in companies screened for products and business practices I find objectionable. That’s not the problem here. The problem is that these folks thought some God was going to help them make money if they sucked up enough. Since empirical evidence doesn’t seem to be very high on their list of things they find cogent, it is likely the failure to answer their prayers for Big Bucks won’t dampen their faith.
So of these True Believers who aren’t swayed by evidence, I have only one question:
Want to buy a 1995 Volvo? Under 100,000 miles. Disregard appearances. It runs great. Because I say so.