LONDON (8/13/14)--In July 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, declared war on payday lenders in the United Kingdom by creating a credit union for clergy and members of the Church of England and Church of Scotland. He told the payday lender Wonga that he wanted to put it out of business by using the Church of England to promote credit unions.
It appears that citizens of the U.K. do indeed value credit union services. New data published by the Bank of England shows continued uninterrupted growth for the credit union movement in England, Scotland and Wales, according to the Association of British Credit Unions.
The audited figures covering the financial year to September 2013 confirm that Britain's credit unions now serve more than 1 million people and have assets worth more than 1 billion pounds ($1.68 billion).
Since 2004, credit union membership has increased by 90%, lending has more than doubled and savings have increased by 138%.
As of last September, credit unions in England served 657,737 members, with 506 million pounds ($849 million) in savings and 369 million pounds ($619 million) out on loan.
Scotland's credit unions served 343,437 members--6.4% of the total Scottish population--with 376 million pounds ($631 million) in savings and 255 million pounds ($427 million) in loans.
The data also shows Welsh credit unions served 69,151 members, with 27 million pounds ($45 million) in savings and 15 million pounds $25 million on loan.