The Orthodox Church Capital Improvement Fund (OCCIF) is an Orthodox financial actor exemplifying a concrete case as to Orthodox finance and/or Orthodox banking.
The OCCIF was created to assist parishes, missions, and monastic communities, which serve the canonical jurisdictions of Orthodox Bishops of the Orthodox Church in the United States, acquire, build, remodel, and refinance church-related properties. As reported in its website, “OCCIF works hard to arrive at rates and terms, that are tailored to meet the individual needs of each qualified candidate, striving to provide at or below market rates. This process is designed to reduce a community’s long term obligations as quickly as responsibly feasible. OCCIF goes on to offer services beyond the loan. These services are in place to assist the borrower in the proper allocation of their loan proceeds when used for construction and remodel projects”.
Public donations to OCCIF are put directly into the parishes, missions, and monasteries of Orthodox faith. The following is a brief description of each of the loan programs OCCIF can offer.
All applicants must be missions, parishes, monastic communities or institutions serving the Orthodox jurisdictions determined as canonical by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America and/or its successor.
New Construction Loans
A loan can be made to a mission, parish, monastic community or institution for building projects involving the construction of a parish temple, social hall, rectory, school or senior-related housing project. Once qualified through OCCIF’s Feasibility and Loan Application processes, OCCIF would lock in the borrower’s interest rate. OCCIF will then establish a 12 to 18 month, interest only, payment schedule matching the duration of the construction period. OCCIF will also provide services for the periodic disbursement of loan proceeds matching the progress payments schedule of the project. After construction is deemed complete by the approving agency, the loan is transitioned into a permanent loan, where principal and interest payments are due for the approved duration of the loan. OCCIF lends up to 80% of the total construction cost of most projects.
Straight Purchase Loans
This loan program is designed to include the purchase of new, undeveloped parcels of land or a property with existing improvements, capable of being used as a place of worship. This program’s requires the submission of a qualified appraisal, earlier in the evaluation and qualifying stages then other programs. OCCIF can lend up to 70% of the total cost of undeveloped property or 80% of a property with existing structures, not requiring remodeling or alterations to occupy.
Similar to OCCIF’s New Construction Loan program, the initial process required for funding remains the same but the loan amount range is significantly less to renovate verses build. The interim financing, as interest only payments, is also similar to OCCIF’s new Construction Loans but are limited to a maximum of 12 months in duration. After the renovation phase is completed and approved for occupancy by governing agencies, the loan is transitioned into permanent financing. Principal and interest payments are due for the approved term or the program. OCCIF can lend up to 80% of the total appraised value of most projects.
OCCIF offers the ability to refinance existing debt, with the goal of provided a more competitive interest rate than conventional lenders. These loans are guaranteed through secured title to the project’s real property. OCCIF can only provide funding for projects where OCCIF provides the first mortgage.