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Building Loan Program

Statement of Purpose

The primary purpose of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Building Loan Program is to facilitate the continued growth of member congregations. The program provides affordable financing for three types of building projects:

  1. Building or buying a new spiritual home
  2. Repairing or renovating existing facilities where substantial construction is not required
  3. Expanding current facilities where substantial construction is required, especially to make facilities more accessible

Because the program is not intended to replace local financing options, congregations are encouraged to meet with local bankers and seek the most competitive financing for their project. For guidance on how to negotiate with bankers, see Beyond Fundraising, written by Wayne Clark. Chapter nine is titled “Debt is More Than a Four-Letter Word” and speaks to the issue of obtaining financing.

Loan Rate

The UUA makes commitments for market rate loans from $50,000 to $900,000. The interest rate is set at the time of closing and will be the greater of (i) 5.00% or (ii) the five-year Treasuries plus three-percent.

Congregations are required to be Annual Program Fund (APF) Fair-Share members at the time of application. They must also retain Fair-Share status throughout the life of the loan. Fair-Share records are reviewed annually. If a congregation fails to pay its full Fair-Share to their district and to the UUA, the interest rate is increased by two-percent for the following fiscal year. This is not to be viewed as a payment in lieu of APF dues. The interest rate drops back down by two-percent in the fiscal year following their return to Fair-Share status.

Loan Fees

There is a $250 application fee, payable when submitting an application. The congregation is charged $2,900 (plus dispersements) for the legal fees incurred by the UUA as part of creating and recording the mortgage. The congregation is also charged one point at the time of closing.

Loan Amortization

There are three amortization schedules:

  1. Congregations building or buying a new spiritual home are offered a 25-year amortization.
  2. Congregations repairing or renovating an existing facility that does not require substantial construction are offered a 15-year amortization.
  3. Congregations constructing new facilities or expanding existing facilities that requires substantial construction, especially to make facilities more accessible are offered a 20-year amortization.

NOTE. In each case, the loan is reviewed during the sixth year and the interest rate is adjusted depending upon market conditions.

The program does not offer short-term construction loans.

Lending Guidelines

  1. Membership Growth Plan. Submit a loan application that includes a detailed membership growth plan.
  2. Capital Campaign. Complete a capital campaign in which total financial commitments are equal to at least three times the congregational financial commitments (pledges) to the most recent annual budget drive.
  3. Debt Service. Keep total annual debt service within twenty-five-percent of the annual operating budget in the financial projections of each future year.
  4. Lien Position. Secure the loan with a lien in the first position (i.e. a first mortgage). The loan cannot be subordinated to any other lien holder except in extraordinary circumstances approved by the Congregational Properties and Loan Commission.
  5. Reversionary Agreement. Include a reversionary clause in the bylaws or certificate of incorporation that indicates reversion of all congregational property (after all debts have been paid) to the UUA in the event that the congregation shall cease to legally exist. (See example below.)
  6. Congregational Vote. Vote to approve receipt of a building loan from the UUA. (see example below)
  7. Phase I Environmental Study. Complete a Phase I Environmental Study when construction will alter the existing foot print on currently owned facilities, when purchasing a piece of land, and when purchasing new facilities. A Phase II Environmental Study is required if the Phase I Study indicates the possibility of any environmental hazard.  To streamline the lending process, please ensure that the consultant who prepares the Phase I Environmental Study includes language in the report indicating that the Unitarian Universalist Association may rely on the contents of the report.
  8. Insurance Coverage. Maintain minimum limits of property and liability insurance coverage. These limits are defined on the last page of the loan application. Two insurance quotes are required, one of which must be from Church Mutual Insurance Company (800.554.2642).
  9. Closing. Close the loan within six-months of UUA approval.
  10. Late Charge. A late payment charge of five-percent of the total overdue amount is assessed. Interest continues to accrue at four-percent over the mortgage rate if payment is not received within thirty days of the due date.

Congregational Vote

Sample language for a congregational vote:

The Congregation hereby votes to borrow from the Unitarian Universalist Association (the “Association”) a sum not to exceed  _____[INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] to be paid in or within five (5) years, said loan to be secured by a right of reverter in the Congregation’s property, a mortgage, and/or other such security interests as the Association may require in connection with said loan, and shall be upon such other terms and conditions as required by the Association; and

To authorize the President and _____[INSERT TITLE OF ADDITIONAL AUTHORIZED OFFICER] of the Congregation to sign, acknowledge and deliver on behalf of the Congregation any and all documents deemed necessary by them, in their sole discretion, to complete the loan, including, but not limited to a promissory note and a mortgage or deed of trust 

Application Processing Time

The application processing time varies depending upon a number of factors, but each loan is usually processed within 4 to 6 weeks.

Steps in the Review Process

  1. Submit the completed application to the UUA Building Loan Program. The congregation is contacted if any information is missing or if further documentation is needed.
  2. The program reviews the application, contacts the congregation with any questions, and, if all issues are resolved, recommends approval to the UUA Vice President of Finance.
  3. The Vice President of Finance reviews the application and, if everything is in order, approves the application.
  4. The congregation is informed of the decision.
  5. The UUA attorney contacts the congregation's attorney to work out the final legal documentation.

Reversionary Clause

Sample language for a reversionary clause:

"In the event of congregational dissolution, all outstanding debts shall be paid. The remaining assets, both real and personal, and including all property heretofore and hereinafter donated to said congregation, shall become the property of the Unitarian Universalist Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, Massachusetts, or its successor, subject to all applicable laws."

With the prior written approval of the UUA Board of Trustees, the congregation has the option of naming a UUA affiliate organization (such as a district, camp, conference center, or other congregation) as the recipient of the congregation's assets.

The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

The UUA Building Loan Program is made possible in part as a result of generous grants from the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock and gifts from individual donors. The Veatch Program promotes the growth of Unitarian Universalist congregations through its support of this UUA program. Please join us in expressing gratitude for their commitment and generosity. Please acknowledge them wherever appropriate in all printed materials.

For more information contact congstewardship @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

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