I was never comfortable with the Society lending money.
Is it done in other religions? I have no idea.
It seems like a conflict of interest; I have heard of areas where the CO pushes halls into big remodel projects, or new halls, using Society money. (Locally they are trying to sell the current property for a profit, and rebuild next to it. The original hall was built in mid 80's, quick build. They are having a hard time selling it for what they were told it was worth; they have already bought the lot next door.)
And I really hated the self insured policy; you CAN'T collect on it. We tried. I moved that we go elsewhere, but that was viewed as untheocratic.