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Church’s flagship credit union is ready to launch

19 December 2014

DIOCESE OF GLOUCESTER

Signing up: Gloucestershire clergy join the Gloucestershire credit union, at the Barclays office in Britannia Warehouse, Gloucester, on 4 December. Right to left Canon Robbin Clark; the chairman of Gloucestershire Credit Union,​ Geoff Shaw; the Bishop of Tewkesbury, the Rt Revd Martyn Snow; Helen Richardson 

Signing up: Gloucestershire clergy join the Gloucestershire credit union, at the Barclays office in Britannia Warehouse, Gloucester, on 4 Dece...

THE Church of England's flagship credit union has been approved by the financial regulators, paving the way for it to open its doors officially in February.

The Churches Mutual Credit Union (CMCU), a joint venture with the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Church in Wales, was authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority on Tuesday.

Clergy, lay ministers, church trustees, church charities, and churches themselves will all be eligible to join the CMCU from February next year. Among the services offered by the union will be savings accounts, ISAs, and loans for mission projects and equipment, as well as cars.

The credit union's president, Canon Antony MacRow-Wood, said: "CMCU will help many, even in its first year of operation and, in due course, it should become a significant financial resource to the Church and individuals throughout England, Wales, and Scotland.

"CMCU will enable a virtuous recycling of money within the church community, through a combined portfolio of savings and loan products."

Eventually, it is planned that the CMCU will be open to all parishioners and those in other denominations as well. The project was conceived in 2008, but has been a central plank of the Archbishop of Canterbury's plans to save people from spiralling payday loan debts and "compete Wonga out of business" (News, 26 July 2013).

Alongside setting up the Church's own credit union, there have been moves to improve financial education in schools and to encourage churches to form partnerships with their local credit union and promote responsible lending (News, 30 May). An organisation, To Your Credit, has also been established to campaign for a fairer financial system.

New post. Sir Hector Sants, the former financial regulator who has been spearheading Archbishop Welby's task force on finance, has taken a new position with the management consultancy Oliver Wyman. Previously, Sir Hector worked at Barclays, and before that he ran the now-defunct Financial Services Authority. He will continue working for the Church while in his new post.

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