11 February 2015

Churches launch major credit union


A group of major Churches is promoting access to responsible credit and savings with the launch of the Churches Mutual Credit Union Ltd. (CMCU).

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, joined the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Rt Rev John Chalmers and the President of the Methodist Conference, The Rev Ken Howcroft, at Church House in London, to celebrate their churches' collaboration in forming the flagship credit union.  

The CMCU, which also includes the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Church in Wales, will offer a range of savings and loan products.  Fairness will be at the heart of the CMCU's values.  Initially members will be able to invest in the 'Founder Member's Bond' with ordinary savers accounts and loans becoming available in March.  In due course CMCU will offer ISA savings accounts.

At least 60,000 individuals, notably ordained ministers, licensed lay ministers, elders, employees and trustees of churches (e.g. Parochial Church Council members) and church charities are eligible to join, along with churches and Anglican and Church of Scotland charities as corporate members.

Individuals can join CMCU from tomorrow (Thursday February 12).  

Mr Howcroft said: "Methodists are glad to support the launch of CMCU. The gap between rich and poor seems to be widening and leaving people without the resources to do new things, or even pushing them into crippling debt.

"When we recognise our interdependence we can share our resources to help each of us meet our needs. That is how we can all live life more fully. We wish the CMCU well."

Archbishop Justin said: "My congratulations go to all involved in establishing the Churches Mutual Credit Union as it is launched today.

"Credit unions have the potential to make a transformative contribution to our financial system and I am delighted that it will be possible for clergy, church employees and church trustees to belong to a credit union focused on supporting their particular financial needs.

"As the first supporter to sign CMCU's application to the regulator in 2013 I am looking forward to being one of the first to sign up as a member when registration opens tomorrow.

"It is a notable strength of CMCU that it brings together churches from England, Scotland and Wales in this shared venture.

"I hope and expect that the experience of belonging to CMCU will encourage clergy and church workers to become increasingly effective advocates for credit unions in their communities."

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