Foreclosure Auction Leaves Evangelical Christian CU With Another Church REO

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MECKLENBURG, N.C. – Evangelical Christian CU, the California church lender, acquired another troubled church property, the Greater Salem Church, a a foreclosure auction Friday for $5.1 million.

Although several people came looking to bid on the church properties, no other bids were made after officials at the local courthouse opened with the credit union’s offer, which was submitted in writing. Greater Salem had not made a full payment on the note since September 2009.

The Brea, Calif., credit union, which has a $1 billion portfolio of church loans, has foreclosed on 26 ministry properties since 2007, a growing number over the past two years. “It’s a sign of the tough times,” said Jac Latour, spokesman for the credit union. The credit union, one of the biggest church lenders in the country, has a portfolio of almost 1,000 church loans, according to latour.

Greater Salem Church was pastored by convicted couple Anthony and Harriet Jinwright, who were convicted earlier this year on charges they siphoned more than $2 million from the ministry.

Anthony Jinwright was convicted in May on 13 counts of conspiracy and tax evasion and has been held in the Mecklenburg jail since then while he awaits sentencing. Harriet Jinwright was convicted on four counts – one for conspiracy and three for tax evasion and was allowed to remain free pending sentencing.

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