LONDON (2/13/15)--The Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders in the United Kingdom opened a credit union with the hope of inspiring a generation of advocates for cooperative financial institutions.
At least 60,000 people, including ordained ministers, lay ministers, employees and trustees of the churches involved, will be eligible to join the Churches Mutual Credit Union (CMCU).
"Credit unions are essential," said Archbishop Justin Welby. "We are trying to build a new financial sector in this country; it's going to take a long time, but this is the churches putting our money where our mouth is--and it's a tribute to the priority that this has that we have the churches from around the United Kingdom here today."
The launch further boosts the archbishop's campaign to promote access to financial services for all communities within the U.K.
CMCU, which also includes the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales within its field of membership, will offer a range of savings and loan products "with fairness at the heart of its values," the archbishop said.
"This is a major step to say that over time the credit union sector is a viable sector, not just in the poorest areas but for everyone," Welby said.
With this week's opening of CMCU, the archbishop said he hopes clergy members and employees will become advocates for credit unions in their communities.