South Georgia Conference Earns Higher Rates While Doing Good

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We asked our good friend, Dr. Derek W. McAleer, Director of Administrative Services and Treasurer for the South Georgia Annual Conference, to answer a few questions about why he is bullish on the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.

GUMF: The South Georgia Conference has invested funds in the GUMF’s Certificate Program. Can you tell us why?
Dr. McAleer:
We wanted to put the more liquid portion of our portfolio to work doing good, and the Foundation offers us the opportunity to have our funds back loans to United Methodist churches. We like using our investment funds to support our congregations.

GUMF: How do the rates on GUMF certificates compare with other medium-term investment options?
Dr. McAleer:
We get much higher rates at the Foundation than we could find with CDs or money market accounts at any bank.

GUMF: Some potential investors are reluctant to purchase non FDIC-insured certificates. How do you feel about the safety of your investments with the GUMF?
Dr. McAleer:
We are very confident about the financial position of our Foundation, and do not believe our funds are at risk. The Foundation’s Investment Committee is made up of some very capable business persons, who keep a close eye on the funds. Some of the money we have in the Foundation would have been invested in the market, where it was also not FDIC-insured.

GUMF: Flexibility is important to many investors. How do the various maturity options suit the needs of the South Georgia Conference? 
Dr. McAleer:
We appreciate the varying terms offered, and we added flexibility by buying our certificates in succeeding months, so that they are now laddered.

GUMF: The Book of Discipline and Social Principles gives guidelines for socially responsible investing. How does this factor into your decision on where to invest? 
Dr. McAleer:
Our Investment Committee believes in socially responsible investing. We require it in all of our investments. We appreciate the Foundation understanding our desire to use our funds to help people, not harm them.

GUMF: Churches look to you for financial leadership and guidance. What do you share with them regarding the GUMF’s Certificate Program?
Dr. McAleer:
I continually invite churches to look at the Foundation’s Certificate Program whenever they are investing or reinvesting funds. The high interest rate combined with the way the funds are used, make the Foundation a very attractive alternative.

GUMF: The GUMF’s Certificate Program funds loans to Methodist churches and ministries. How have you seen this benefit the work of the South Georgia Conference? 
Dr. McAleer
: I have seen several churches get very favorable interest rates on their building loans by going with the Foundation. My own church refinanced our mortgage with the Foundation and saved significant funds, which will enable us to pay the loan off much sooner than would otherwise have been possible.

GUMF: What would you say to churches, ministries and individuals looking for a solid medium-term investment? 
Dr. McAleer:
Always look around, as you have a responsibility to maximize return, minimize risk, and do good with your funds. The Foundation should be included in your search, as it will often turn out to be the best choice.

GUMF: How do the GUMF’s Loan and Certificate Programs strengthen the Methodist connection?
Dr. McAleer:
Our Foundation provides the connecting link between congregations who need an investment vehicle and congregations who need to borrow funds. By putting the two together, both find the financial underpinning of their ministry is enhanced. Our connection works!

GUMF: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Dr. McAleer: I have so much confidence in our Foundation that I have personal investments in certificates. I encourage our South Georgia United Methodist pastors and laypersons to look to our Foundation when you have funds to invest. Consider them also as you look toward making charitable bequests in your estate planning. The Foundation manages several charitable bequests made to the Annual Conference or to mission agencies of the Conference, and does so with skill and thoughtfulness. 

This article was originally published in the Winter 2017 edition of Faith & Money, a publication of the Georgia United Methodist Foundation.