Rives Leavell & Co.
Rives Leavell & Co.
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Company History

The Early Years
Rives, Leavell & Co. (RLC) traces its roots back to 1960 and a company named Church Finance, Inc. Church Finance was a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registered broker-dealer in Jackson, Mississippi. The Company was founded by a group of Christian laymen and led by its President, W. B. Rives. Church Finance specialized in bond financing and was formed to provide funds to evangelical churches in Mississippi and the surrounding states.

In the 1960s, few churches and faith-based organizations had access to credit as they do today. Church Finance and a sister company, Church Building & Savings Association, a state chartered Savings & Loan, were early leaders in the church financing arena. These two companies combined the permanent financing options of a bond issue with the short term benefits of a term loan successfully throughout the Deep South.

A byproduct of the bond financing packages that Church Finance provided to churches was the investment opportunities provided by the bonds themselves. Since the early 1960s, church members and friends have invested their personal funds in the first mortgage bonds issued by churches throughout America.

In 1976, due to a savings and loan failure, the Mississippi State Legislature required all State chartered Savings and Loans to get Federal insurance. Since the Federal government does not insure a portfolio consisting entirely of church loans, the Board of Church Buildings & Savings shareholders voted to sell out rather than become a traditional savings & loan.

Growth and Challenge
Church Finance continued its successful work until 1980 when the financing markets were roiled by an increase of the prime interest rate to 21.5%. It was this turbulent period of time that led to the demise of the Savings and Loan industry, as it was merged and came under the control of the FDIC bank regulators. With a multi-million dollar church bond inventory of 9% bonds tied to a bank loan floating at prime, Church Finance also experienced a negative spread on its portfolio during this very difficult time. This time was also burdensome on the individual churches. Many had adjustable rate loans and were battered by interest rate and monthly payment increases. These rate increases put a great deal of stress on all borrowers, whether individual, business, or church.

Left undercapitalized after this difficult period, in 1981 the shareholders of Church Finance voted to sell to a regional broker-dealer that specialized in municipal bonds. This marriage of incompatible values was difficult from the start and ended shortly thereafter when W. B. Rives and Roland Leavell left the Company and acquired Nationwide Bond Inc. of Birmingham, AL. Nationwide Bond was a broker-dealer incorporated in 1960 to serve the same church market as Church Finance, Inc. Rives and Leavell subsequently changed the name of Nationwide Bond to Rives Leavell & Co. (RLC) and continued their uninterrupted service to churches.

The following years were characterized by a number of industry firsts for Rives, Leavell & Co.

  • RLC was a pioneer in developing presentation materials to assist a church in offering bonds to their membership and the local community. Even today, RLC’s local placement program is still regarded as the best in the industry.
  • In September 1990, RLC directed the first 20-year financing package for the Burke Presbyterian Church in Burke, VA. Prior to this time the industry standard was a 15-year loan amortization that restricted the cash flow of the church.
  • In August 2000, RLC became the first church bond broker-dealer to post bond inventory on a website. This allowed a retail client to issue an indication of interest on a bond issue to the firm unrestricted by the limits of normal business hours.
  • In December 2001, RLC directed the first 25-year financing package for the Bascomb United Methodist Church in Woodstock, GA. This loan package further expanded the church’s ability to cash flow a faith-based project.
  • 2003 was the most successful year in the company's history with a total of $95,867,000 of church loans closed.
  • In January of 2007, RLC directed its first 30-year financing package for the Kellogg Creek Church of Christ in Acworth, Georgia.

A Step Back in Time
In July 2000, RLC exchanged its stock for an interest in One Capital Source. One Capital Source, a newly-formed management company, became the parent company of both Rives, Leavell & Co. and One Capital Advisors (OCA).

One Capital Advisors served as manager of Foundation Capital Resources (FCR), a real estate investment trust (REIT) and was formed to provide participation loans and liquidity to church loan funds and broker-dealers throughout the USA.

From its inception, Foundation Capital Resources grew to over $700 million in assets. These assets were comprised almost entirely of church loans and loan participations with various denominational loan funds. FCR participated with RLC, as it did with other strategic partners, in providing short-term bridge and land acquisition loans to RLC church clients. For RLC, this new relationship reunited the combination of bond financing and term loans, which was highly successful for Church Finance Inc. and Church Building & Savings in the 1960s.

With participation from FCR, RLC continued to assist churches with financing across the continental United States. The firm was recognized for its commitment to technology that reduced the cost of the financing package to the church and service delivery to its retail investors.

In June of 2004 it was necessary for the business interests of Rives, Leavell & Co. and One Capital Advisors to be separated. Rives, Leavell & Co. is again a separate and distinct operating entity and the managing principal, Roland Leavell, is the sole shareholder.

The 46 year low in market rates that culminated in the Spring of 2004 contributed to Rives, Leavell & Co.’s most successful operating year in history. As of June 30, 2011, RLC and affiliates have directed over 1,600 bond issues comprising approximately $1,000,000,000 in capital projects. Of that total, $270 million of these financing projects are still outstanding.

By any method of evaluation, Rives, Leavell & Co. continues to be a recognized leader in the church financing marketplace. As a church lender totally focused on the needs of this select market, RLC is optimistic regarding the future of its business and the service it provides to churches and individual investors.

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Rives Leavell
Rives Leavell
Rives Leavell & Co.
P.O. Box 4900
Jackson, MS 39296

Trade Desk
Rives Leavell & Co.
P.O. Box 4975
Jackson, MS 39296
Rives Leavell
Rives Leavell & Co.
1430 Lelia Drive
Jackson, MS 39216
601-948-4500 phone
800-748-8877 toll free
601-956-0594 fax
Rives Leavell

rlcinfo@rivesleavell.com

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