SAFE BANKING: "Never Lost Any Money On An Amish Deal"

01/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • By Adam Davidson NPR

In most banks, a man who wants to buy a farm but has no credit history, no FICO score and not even a driver's license would be unlikely bet. But O'Brien is used to this.

"I'll find out who his dad was," he says. "I'm also interested in who his wife's father was. It takes a team to make a farm go."

O'Brien says the Amish are less risky debtors than people with access to all the tools of modern banking. The Amish live well within their means -- no splurging on iPods or HDTVs, no dinners out that they really can't afford. The Amish think that missing a payment brings shame -- not just on them, but on their whole family, their whole community.

"We've never lost any money on an Amish deal," he says. "So, I'll stretch my neck more for with them than maybe I will somewhere else."

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