CMCU is 'different'

15 April 2016

CHURCH IN WALES

"Fair finance": Hilary Sams

"Fair finance": Hilary Sams

THE chief executive of the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union (CMCU), Hilary Sams, gave a presentation on the development of her credit union, which has included the Church in Wales since it was launched. The CMCU was helping to re-educate the public and the Church about credit unions, showing that they were not just for those on low incomes, she said. “We offer a simple and straightforward way to save. We are about promoting good stewardship and fair finance. We are Fairtrade finance.”

Offering loans was an important part of the credit union, but they were not a “Computer says no” organisation, Ms Sams said. Every loan was assessed individually, recognising the special circumstances of clergy who often did not own their own home.

The CMCU was open to any cleric, lay minister, church employee, church charity employee, or church trustee. Parishes, dioceses, and charities could also join corporately, Ms Sams said.

Peter Badcock (Llandaff) said that he strongly supported the idea behind the CMCU, but, as he was not a church employee nor on a PCC, was he not allowed to join?

Ms Sams said the CMCU had wanted to include people such as Mr Badcock, but the suggestion had fallen foul of the Equality Act.

Canon Brian Pippen (Monmouth), the chairman of his own local credit union, congratulated Ms Sams on her achievements. “Can I ask [the Governing Body] to investigate the credit union of your area? There is an opportunity for each and every one of us to support their credit union.”

Ms Sams said that she was a member of three credit unions, and that the CMCU did not want to undermine existing local ones. “But we are about doing it differently. We have taken £1.5 million in deposits, and loaned about £1 million in two years. We want to be trailblazers, and say there is a different way of doing credit unions.”

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