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Credit Union Summit For Manchester

Bishop of Manchester attacks payday loan culture

Published on December 17th 2013.

Credit Union Summit For Manchester

THIS is an interesting email from our local Cathedral.

'The Diocese of Manchester is lending its support to Credit Unions across Greater Manchester in the run up to Christmas and beyond encouraging residents to use these historic and trusted institutions to make more ethical and responsible borrowing and saving choices; choices that can keep families out of spiraling debt situations. 

The history of credit unions began in 1844, with a group of weavers in Rochdale, England, who established the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers. 

'The directive launched on Monday 16 December when representatives from Greater Manchester’s credit unions joined members of the Diocese to talk about the issues and commercial pressures on individuals and families during the festive period and encouraged people to sign up to credit unions. 

'With the huge marketing budgets spent by payday lenders throughout the year reaching a large audience through TV advertising, these high interest lenders often seem like the only available option. Or some people even turn to illegal money lending - several loan sharks have been arrested in Greater Manchester.

'These often start out being friendly but don’t provide proper paperwork, tak e passports, bank cards and other items as security and often us e threats and intimidation. 

'What the Diocese - in conjunction with credit unions - aims to express is that there is a more responsible, ethical way of borrowing - and indeed saving - money that lies at the heart of most of the city’s communities.

'The Rt Revd David Walker, Bishop of Manchester says, “The Diocese of Manchester is very keen to help promote the good work that credit unions do within communities to help and educate people on issues of borrowing and lending. Credit unions began in the region - indeed we are still home to the largest credit union in the UK with the Police’s Copperpot - and are part of an ethically-driven tradition that helps communities on a grass roots level.

Img_0902St Ann's Church campaigns against payday loans

“Credit unions are responsible, ethical and competitive which makes them the ideal consideration for people in the region looking to save or borrow money. But credit unions should be seen as more than just a response to predatory pay day lenders with exorbitant interest rates. They are a community - focused alternative way of managing your finances that as a region we should be proud to support.”

'Credit Unions are regulated ‘Not for Profit’, Member-Owned (mutual), Financial Service Co-operatives. They are organisations that encourage their members to save together and lend to each other responsibly. This allows these members the opportunity to gain greater control over their finances. They have no shareholders, with all profits distributed amongst all members at the end of each financial year. 

'The history of credit unions began in 1844, with a group of weavers in Rochdale, England, who established the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers. They sold shares to members to raise the capital necessary to buy goods at lower than retail prices, and then sold the goods at a savings to members. In doing so, they became the first credit union. 

'The movement then spread to Germany in 1850, Canada in 1901 and the United States in 1908. There are currently around 56,000 Credit Unions in 101 countries serving more than 200 million people. The places where Credit Unions are particularly dominant are: America, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Africa and Indonesia. More than 70% of people in Ireland are Credit Union members. 

'To find out more about credit unions visit here.'


Confidential thinks it's good the Church of England is getting involved in the problem of payday loans. One of the Confidential staff, prior to working here, took out a loan for £100 and had to pay back £125 a week later to one of the loan companies.

A 25% booster in a week is an astonishing return. Our person paid it all back on time too, if she'd been late the company would have grubbed much more out of her. She's knows plenty of people who've got into terrible trouble by going down the route of payday loans.

Interesting too, is the more confrontational approach of the Church of England in recent years to what they see as moral problems within the UK, particularly those concerning poverty.

If the Church has a 'mission' - a word the Church of England uses a great deal - then attempting to alleviate poverty and pointing out the injustices it creates, is a good place to start. For a faith group with a less tight straitjacket of restrictive dogma (compared to many faiths), this mission is hard to disagree with. And one non-religious types can heartily applaud.

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