The Church of England’s Archbishop of Canterbury has recently started a Church of England staff credit union and is now advocating giving English credit unions access to Church premises to distribute personal loans: see Financial Times and The Telegraph.
Although credit unions in England and Australia have followed a different path it is interesting that the Archbishop has identified credit unions for their member focus.
Some credit unions in Australia got their start in the 1960’s in Catholic parishes.
In a recent interview the Archbishop said:
“… We’re putting our money where our mouth is, we’re starting a Church of England staff credit union. You’ve got (to) have a corporate interest body to identify who’s members of the credit union. We’re starting one of those so we’re actually getting involved ourselves. We’re working steadily with the main trade bodies for the credit unions. There’s a major investment coming from BIS of £35m over the next 10 years. The Government has, in the regulatory structure that came through the Financial Services Act last year, cleared space for credit unions through approaches to regulation. We’ve got to have credit unions that are both engaged in their communities and much more professional, and the third thing is people have got to know about them. It’s a decade long process.”