While Jesus drove the moneychangers from the temple, a Minnesota bank brought the good Lord to commerce. Federal regulators, however, have closed "God's favored financial institution."
It attracted national attention for advocating prayer in the workplace. Among the decorations in its Otsego headquarters was this picture of Jesus closing a business deal. You can trust Jesus with your money, right?
One of the bank's founders, Chuck Ripka, once boasted to the Star Tribune that God had actually guaranteed success for investors. "Chuck, if you pastor the bank, I'll take care of the bottom line," he claimed God said.
The moral of the story: You can't trust Jesus after all.
Go ahead and click that picture to embiggen; you know you want to. Back? Okay, because you'll never believe the backstory on this bank and it's after the jump.
The New York Times Magazine did a story about the
church bank recently that's a must-read.
The bank opened 18 months ago as a ''Christian financial institution,'' with a Bible buried in the foundation and the words ''In God We Trust'' engraved in the cornerstone. In that time, deposits have jumped from $5 million to more than $75 million. The phone rings; it's a woman from Minneapolis who has $1.5 million in savings and wants to transfer it here. ''I heard about the Christian bank,'' she tells Ripka, ''and I said, 'That's where I want my money.''' Because of people like her, Riverview is one of the fastest growing start-up banks in the state, and if you ask Ripka, who is a vice president, or his boss, the bank president, Duane Kropuenske, whose office wall features a large color print of two businessmen with Christ, or Gloria Oshima, a teller who prays with customers at the drive-up window, all will explain the bank's success in the same way. Jesus Christ has blessed them because they are obedient to his will. Jesus told them to take his word out of the church and bring it to where people interact: the marketplace.
Chuck Ripka says he sometimes slips and says to people, ''Come on over to the church -- I mean the bank.''
I wonder how that Minneapolis woman that transferred $1.5 million is feeling right about now. I'm guessing she's thinking about Judas' 30 pieces of silver since the FDIC only insures up to $250,000.