Welby’s Speech to the Credit Union Foundation

It’s quite good.

Justin WelbyThree things we’re doing at the moment. The first is the Credit Champions Network, which Hector Sants launched a fortnight ago at St Martin in the Fields, that will seek to identify and develop grass-roots leaders within church communities; which is a lot of people. Everyone knows the church has a slightly mature demographic, and it’s something that in most cases we’re trying to balance out, but it’s very useful when it comes to this: we’ve got lots of people who are very skilled, very experienced and for whom doing this will be something that they will do out of love.

Someone said to me the other day, whenever love is offered at sufficient cost, because it’s always a sacrifice, it has an explosive power to change lives. And that’s what this movement is trying to do. So that network of credit champions is initially going to work in London and Liverpool to increase the number of churches engaged, train credit champions, and support them in leading church actions. The target is to train 300 people and to see 3000 members of credit unions as a result of the network, and to do that in the first three years. I think there’s going to be a lot of take up on that.

Secondly, we educate nearly a million children.One in four primary schools is run by the Church of England. We will be working on financial education for primary school children, to have a positive impact on the attitude of young people towards money and the culture of saving.

And lastly, we want to continue our response to the payday lending industry. I welcome what the government did at the latter stages of the Banking Reform Act last year, but we need to make sure that’s followed through and delivered on. Credit unions are not a direct substitute for payday lenders; ultimately they are giving different products. But as the name of the Task Group suggests, responsible credit and saving are real alternatives to the services currently provided by payday lenders.

This is a really exciting time for the credit unions. But we have to recognize that this is the long haul. It’s a marathon not a sprint, and therefore we need to keep going at a measured pace, developing so everyone knows about credit unions, and people pick it up. In 10 to 15 years it should be the norm, not the exception.

Brilliant idea. Let’s utilise the banking and retail finance skills and talents we’ve already got in the Church to help make Credit Unions a normal choice for people when considering their credit needs.

Looks at phone. Waits for phone to ring. Still waits for phone to ring.

Yeah, right…..

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