The former Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority and head of compliance and regulatory affairs for Barclays Bank, Sir Hector Sants, will chair the Church of England's new task group on credit unions.
The task group has been formed by Archbishop Justin Welby, who
recently attacked unscrupulous loan companies for their behaviour and
was outraged when it was discovered soon after that the Church of
England's pension fund had a £75,000 investment in Accel Partners, a
company which acts as a financial backer for British payday loan company
The Archbishop met with Errol Damelin, the founder and Chief
Executive of Wonga, and spoke of his plans to advocate alternative
borrowing schemes, declaring that the Church is "not in the business of
trying to legislate you out of existence, we're trying to compete you
out of existence".
He promised the use of church buildings for credit
unions and his unyielding support for systems that are fairer to
He has stayed true to his word, promoting the use of credit unions
and encouraging Christians to invest in alternative borrowing schemes to
ensure more people have access to local, ethical and affordable
The new task group, which will meet for the first time at the end of
January, will develop this ongoing support and encourage responsible
lending and saving. It will also work "with the wider financial sector
to build support for more competitive and community-based financial
services", according to the Church of England.
Joining Sir Sants, who has been described as "a truly outstanding
public servant of great integrity" by former FSA Chairman Lord Turner ,
will be the Bishops of Stepney and Hull, representatives from the credit
union movement, and senior members of the banking and regulatory
It is not the first time the former Barclay's executive has decided
to use his wealth of banking experience for the common good. Upon his
appointment within the FSA, Sir Sants wrote: "As a Christian, I feel
strongly that in the latter part of one's career, it is important to
give back to the community."
Now, in response to his new role within the task group, which will be
on a voluntary basis of one day a month, Sants has spoken of the
"cultural change" needed within the banking sector.
"Archbishop Justin's work on the Banking Standards Commission, and
his determination to follow through by mobilising the Church of
England's commitment to the common good and its local presence across
the country, is an inspiration to many," he said.
"I am delighted that I am able to support him in this very tangible and exciting project."
The Archbishop welcomed Sir Sants to the role, saying: "There are few
people in today's financial sector who have Sir Hector Sant's breadth
and depth of experience and outstanding reputation.
"I am enormously grateful and pleased that he has accepted my
invitation to lead the church's imitative to work with the credit unions
to help serve all the people of this country better and to contribute
to developing a more transparent and competitive system focussed on
serving the needs of everyone."