Thinking Anglicans

The CofE, banks, credit unions and payday lenders

Archbishop Justin Welby delivered a lecture on The future of banking standards and ethics at New City Agenda, House of Lords, Westminster on Tuesday 17 June. The text is now available online: Archbishop’s lecture on the future of banking standards.
The Financial Times has two reports by Martin Arnold: Archbishop of Canterbury warns banks are still ‘too big to fail’ and Archbishop warns on return of loan sharks

Jill Treanor writes in The Guardian about Church of England’s unholy mess over Wonga stake This refers to earlier reports that “selling the £100,000 stake would result in a loss of between £3m and £9m”.

General Synod will have a presentation on the proposed Churches’ Mutual Credit Union on Sunday 13 July. This background note was issued to Synod members at the end of last week. The Business Committee report has this preview of the presentation.

This will take the form of a presentation under S0 97 by the Revd Canon Antony MacRow Wood and Hilary Sams, the President and CEO Designate respectively of the Churches’ Mutual Credit Union (‘CMCU’). Their presentation will outline the plans for the launch of this new credit union for clergy. Those eligible to join will be the clergy, trustees and staff of the Anglican churches and charities in Britain and the ministers, trustees and staff of the Church of Scotland and the Methodist church. The aim of the CMCU is to provide a mutual ethical vehicle for tax efficient savings and affordable loans for clergy and staff of churches charities. It will also help to support and strengthen the credit union movement and contribute to the rebuilding of the mutual sector as a viable, ethical alternative to mainstream banking for people irrespective of their financial status.

The Independent has two articles about CMCU:
Jamie Merrill Church of England to open credit union in its ‘war on Wonga’
Simon Read Church’s credit union continues Welby’s ‘war on Wonga’ but more help for all needed

Meanwhile payday lender Wonga is in the news for another reason.
Rupert Jones The Guardian Wonga to pay £2.6m compensation for fake debt firm letters
and Wonga’s fake legal letters passed to police
Jim Armitage The Independent Wonga scandal and subsequent let-off calls for a full parliamentary inquiry
Katherine Rushton The Telegraph Wonga to pay £2.6m compensation for fake legal letters

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Jill Armstead
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Jill Armstead

The closest the low waged who can’t budget and can’t make ends meet will get to the C of E credit union will be noses pressed mournfully to the window, shivering outside in the cold as the clergy, paid staff and trustees of the C of E bask in the warmth of their mutual benevolence. You couldn’t make it up!

Alan T Perry
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Alan T Perry

“What profiteth it a Church if it save between £3m and £9m but lose its soul?”

The potential loss amount isn’t much more than a rounding error in the total investment portfolio of the Church Commissioners. Sell the stake, take the hit, and take the moral high road.