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Come Sunday, pews across America fill with parishioners seeking a spiritual uplift as pastors share sermons to help congregations make it through another week.

But for budding preachers with dreams of overseeing their own flocks, they have to first get past the strict scrutiny of lenders who are likely leery of originating loans for properties that some experts see as the most risky type of commercial real estate to be involved in.

Yes, commercial real estate. For however churches see themselves, most credit unions and other lenders still view them as businesses. And they are susceptible to the ebbs and flows of the economy.

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