Credit Unions un­veiled

The Church of England - - Front Page - By Amaris Cole

THE CHURCH of Eng­land has launched the first credit unions this week in re­sponse to the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury’s ‘war on Wonga’.

In this first step to­wards a na­tional net­work of churches, com­mu­ni­ties and credit unions, called The Church Credit Cham­pi­ons Net­work, three pi­lot schemes have been launched in the Dio­ce­ses of South­wark, Liver­pool and Lon­don.

The launch is sup­ported by the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury’s Task Group on Re­spon­si­ble Lend­ing.

The launch took place in the St Martin’s Hall at St Martin-in-the-Fields church in Cen­tral Lon­don, with a key­note ad­dress by Sir Hec­tor Sants, for­mer Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Author­ity and Head of Com­pli­ance and Reg­u­la­tory Af­fairs for Bar­clays Bank.

Sir Hec­tor con­venes the Arch­bishop’s Task Group, and has said the Church has a role in pro­mot­ing re­spon­si­ble lend­ing.

The event was chaired by the Bishop of Step­ney, the Rt Rev Adrian New­man, who has a long track record in ad­vo­cat­ing credit unions and who is leading the cam­paign in the Dio­cese of Lon­don.

The net­work is the first tan­gi­ble re­sponse in the fight against pay­day lenders, which the Arch­bishop pub­licly slammed, be­fore em­bar­rass­ing rev­e­la­tions found that the Church Com­mis­sion­ers had some shares in Wonga.

It is hoped these cen­tres will of­fer a real al­ter­na­tive to on­line lenders with ex­tor­tion­ate in­ter­est rates, de­spite Arch­bishop Justin Welby ad­mit­ting pre­vi­ously that the ‘Church is not an ex­pert in this area’.

The sus­tain­abil­ity of the CCCNs has been ques­tioned by some, as re­search has shown lenders need to charge over 80 per cent in­ter­est to make money.

The Arch­bishop hopes the part­ner­ships they have formed will en­sure the scheme works.

Down­load our iPad edi­tion of the Church of Eng­land News­pa­per for a full re­port on the event and more in­for­ma­tion about The Church Credit Cham­pi­ons Net­work.

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