We are currently living in a time of historically low interest rates, drastically unequal distribution of wealth but also (encouragingly) the rise of consumer awareness of how our lifestyles and expenditure can have an impact (both positive and negative) on our planet and its people.
For us in Aotearoa, this has provided us with the perfect storm (in an opportunistic sense) for Impact Investment to progress towards the mainstream, as it has in most other developed nations.
In simple terms, Impact Investing is placing your money in investments that exist to unlock non-financial dividends as well as financial dividends.
Traditional investment focuses only on the latter. Some other investment classes screen out 'the bad bits', whether it be guns, tobacco or firearms, but Impact Investment goes one step further. These non-financial returns can include:
- social outcomes (such as housing for those without a roof over their heads or unable to break free from the rent trap),
- economic outcomes (job creation, congestion reduction etc) or
- environmental outcomes (reduced carbon emissions or cleaner air/water).
Christian Savings' role in the Impact Investment ecosystem is an important one and one that attracted me to join the board. We play a key role in helping churches access capital where traditional lenders may not be willing to lend (or would only lend at high rates). Typically, they may choose not to lend as they only assess the pure commercial elements of a church/affiliated organisation (such as it's ability to attract donations to service a loan) instead of also focusing on the wider benefits to our greater call to meet the needs of our community and environment.
Without Christian Savings operating in the lending market, New Zealand would be worse off; we would have fewer places to gather/connect/worship and fewer resources to help those outside the church through community facilities, programmes and community housing.
Depositors are the lifeblood of this process; without your investment there is no capital to lend, there are no projects to finance and there are no (newly financed) assets to serve our communities.
I join the board with a genuine excitement and sense of hope that together, across depositors, equity investors and borrowers, we can play a significant part in enabling the Kingdom to be progressed across Aotearoa.