Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Methodist Church joins national credit union

The Methodist Council has this week agreed to become a partner to the Churches' Mutual Credit Union (CMCU).

The CMCU initially began as the Anglican Mutual Credit Union, as a way of offering tax-efficient saving and a source of affordable credit for both short and long term needs of the clergy in the Church of England.

The Church of Scotland subsequently joined the scheme, resulting in the name change, and now the Methodist Church is the third party to join the alliance.

It will offer the benefits of credit union membership to ministers, trustees and all those employed by the Church.

Archbishop Justin Welby, known for his promotion of ethical alternatives to high interest payday loans, has endorsed the creation of this national credit union body, though those involved are still actively encouraging Christians to support their local credit unions.

A spokesperson from the Methodist Church has expressed delight at the new partnership.

"The work that credit unions do is essential in helping people to access low-cost, ethical loans and saving accounts," says Doug Swanney, Methodist Connexional Secretary.

"Getting on board with this movement fits perfectly with the values of the Methodist Church and we are excited about the opportunity to enthuse people about the work of credit unions and to make their benefits available as widely as possible."

The Church of England's Director of Mission and Public Affairs, Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, has labelled this new alliance as "great news", noting that the joint venture will hopefully launch this summer.

"The CMCU is a strategic initiative which will not only serve the staff of our respective churches but conveys the important fact that credit unions are for everybody, and not just about helping the worst off," he says.

"Together with our partner churches, the Church of England is working to support local credit unions across the country and to strengthen the role of credit unions within a more diverse and competitive financial sector.

"The Methodist Church's support for the CMCU shows that this important work has caught people's imagination and that credit unions' day has come," he concluded.

The CMCU is still looking for funding to support the start-up capital needed to launch later this year.

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