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Task Group points to credit union growth

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08 Feb 16

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Task Group has highlighted the growth of credit unions in its final report.

The Archbishop’s Task Group on responsible credit and savings, which was chaired by Sir Hector Sants and of which ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette was a member, has pointed to the credit union movement’s contribution to affordable credit and financial wellbeing in its report at the end of its two year term.

More than 3,000 people are on course to have joined a credit union by the end of this year through the Church Credit Champions Network pilot scheme supported by the Task Group in London, Southwark and Liverpool dioceses, with the scheme due to be extended to other parts of the country. The Task Group has also supported credit union savings clubs in schools and a drive to promote greater financial resilience in communities.

The report notes that in total, 123,000 new members joined credit unions in Britain between 2013 and 2015 – an increase of 13% – while the use of high interest payday lenders declined by 68% over the same period.

Chair of the Task Group Sir Hector Sants said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury's initiative has boosted support for credit unions from the Church and wider society and helped contribute to a sea change in public and political opinion about payday lending."

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (pictured) said: "I would like to thank Sir Hector and the members of the Task Group for their generous and unstinting work in promoting the vision of a stronger and more resilient community finance sector.

"The Task Group has delivered an impressive list of achievements that will have a real impact now and in the future. I would also like to pay tribute to the energy, enthusiasm and creativity of the Church of England parishes and schools in helping make this vision a reality."

Local initiatives inspired by the Task Group include mass sign-ups to credit unions; recruiting volunteers for credit union boards; “pop-up” credit union service points in churches and halls; encouraging engaged couples to join a credit union to save or borrow for their wedding; and promoting payroll saving with credit unions.

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