I am a partner in a real estate company that tries to provide affordable housing to families living in the Atlanta area. With rising interest rates, I’ve noticed an interesting shift in the business that’s causing me concern.
Typically, when securing a mortgage, you work with a company to lock in an interest rate that’s guaranteed during a designated period while you and the mortgage company are getting the paperwork in place. Lately, I’ve noticed multiple mortgage companies suddenly losing paperwork. Or they can’t get appraisals finished by the deadline. Perhaps these mishaps are legitimate, but I doubt it.
I believe these companies are now stretching out the timeline past the rate-lock period to raise the interest rates on long-term mortgages. Because interest rates are going up quickly, they have determined that those who locked in lower rates in the past couple of months can be deferred and delayed, forcing us to reset at a higher rate.
Many would say this is good business. If you’re a profit-driven company, of course, you will push the legality as far as it goes to make as much profit for your business as you can. But the net result is that companies who are already outrageously wealthy continue to rake in the cash while smaller companies and individuals are left with the burden of that greed. With a higher interest rate on a mortgage, I must charge higher rent. When I charge higher rent, a family already financially struggling must make painful choices about how they will live.
I could write an entire library on my disdain for corporate greed. Taking the teachings of my Christian faith seriously, I am bound by a different set of values, an economy of generosity and sustainability where the common good is valued above individual success. That we have created a culture so steeped in American capitalist consumerism while at the same time sitting in church pews (or logging in) Sunday after Sunday proclaiming Christ crucified highlights the hypocrisy each of us invests in daily. A Christian economy is not an American capitalist economy. A Christian economy is an economy that cares for the poor and serves the common good.
As we are making and remaking our world in these days of endemic and climate change, let’s ask the hard question about which systems and relationships serve a vibrant and thriving future for our children, grandchildren, and the planet upon which they will be living. Then let’s invest in them. We can create a better, more just world if we dare to.
We are in this together,
Rev. Cameron Trimble
Author of Piloting Church: Helping Your Congregation Take Flight