Panic over for US Jews with non-kosher mortgages

Panic over for US Jews with non-kosher mortgages June 12, 2018

Orthodox Jews who had taken out mortgages with Quicken Loans, which claims to be America’s largest mortgage lender, were dismayed to learn that their arrangements with the Detroit-based company were in breach of Jewish law.
Agudath Israel of America, a major haredi Orthodox organisation, issued a legal ruling in April prohibiting Jews from taking out loans from Quicken – because it is majority-owned by Jews.
Jewish law, known as halacha, forbids Jews from charging interest to other Jews. So Jews are allowed to own mortgage agencies – and lend to non-Jewish customers – but they are not allowed to sell fellow Jews a 30-year fixed rate (or anything else).
Likewise, if you’re a new Jewish homeowner, halacha says you are not allowed to take out a mortgage with a Jewish-owned company. The same also goes for other kinds of loans.
Said the Agudath Israel:

Prominent leading halachic authorities have issued a [ruling] that any Jew who obtains a loan with interest from QL or any of its subsidiaries is in danger of transgressing the prohibition of Ribbis D’oraisa (the biblical commandment against interest).

But, as with so many other religious laws, there are loopholes, and yesterday it was reported that Orthodox Jews can continue to take out mortgages and other loans from Quicken Loans after the company adopted what is known as a heter iska, a technicality that changes the loan into a co-investment in which the lender and borrower become “business partners” – one supplies the capital and the other uses it as they see fit.
Agudath issued a statement notifying the community that Quicken Loans had adopted a global heter iska covering all mortgages initiated after June 8.  It said:

On behalf of Torah Jewry across America, we thank Quicken Loans for its sensitivity and devotion to the needs of the community. The company has exhibited true leadership in taking this bold move quickly and efficiently, trailblazing a clear path forward for the observant Jewish community. We are grateful for this and we express our deepest appreciation.

The heter iska does not retroactively reclassify existing loans, however, according to Agudath spokesman Rabbi Avi Shafran.
This means that if you’re an Orthodox Jew with a pre-June 8 Quicken Loans mortgage, well, too bad. You’ll need to dissolve it and start over.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • AgentCormac

    So many pointless rules, so much wasted time trying to adhere to them. It must be exhausting being a religiot.

  • Dick Raines

    For every religious law there’s a get-out clause, like an eruv, so the religiots can simply side-step any inconvenient ruling…..though probably not if you’re female.

  • H3r3tic

    Ok. So if it’s an interest bearing loan it’s against God’s will. But with a bit of sophistry and financial jiggery-pokery we can transform that mortgage into a heter iska, and such simple linguistic shenanigans and financial sleight-of-hand is clearly enough to bamboozle an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God. Makes sense to me.

  • L.Long

    Thank you jews for doing such a great job showing everyone how dimwittely st00pid religious BS really is, although some would claim that this is tradition and not religion! MEH! no real difference anyway.

  • Angela_K

    I often wonder how these religious nutters manage to get out of bed in the morning without breaking some petty, god-appeasing rule.

  • sailor1031

    Somewhere in their scripture I believe is said “doG is not mocked”. Do these morons really think their deity is fooled by all their arcane nonsense? just how many koshers (whatever they are) can dance on the head of a pin?

  • Herbert

    OK. I give in. Is there anything Jews could do that does not have some restriction or prohibition.
    For example if a Jew Man takes a pee does he have to hold his dick in a certain way?
    Or when getting dressed does a Jew Lady have to wear a blindfold?
    When a Jew drives a cars does he/she have to make sure that the petrol is kosher?
    Is a Jew Lady al home allowed to use the same bathroom as the men. And if so does she have to give it some kind of ritual cleansing when she is done?
    These are important questions. Does anyone know the answers?

  • L.Long

    Herbert… No I don’t know the answers but your questions sound st00pid enough to be jew problems.

  • Maggie

    Thanks H3r3tic. Either they think their god is stupid and easily duped, or… or… Nope. I got nothing, other than they know no one actually is looking.
    If you come up with a bunch of rules, and some years down the line you realise some/most/all are stupid, then change the rules. Stop pretending the rules are good and then try to find ways to get around those rules. You are only deceiving your delusional self.
    Honesty in religion – now THAT would be a new concept.

  • Great Satan

    Whilst on the subject of religious frauds and usury, here is the UK’s very own Rocking Mr E with “The Fraud of Christian Zionism” ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8-DFXDEljo

  • Brian Jordan

    No doubt this applies to all lending institutions. But how, other than in exceptional cases, will they know if a company is majority-owned by Jews? Not even combing through share registers could provide more than an uneducated guess.
    And why only majority-owned? Are not minority shareholders guilty of facilitating the loan?

  • barriejohn

    Brian Jordan: Without these seemingly intractable problems, how would the Rabbis occupy their time and justify their existence?