Suffolk: Credit union boosted by endorsement from church

Sally Chicken

Sally Chicken

Officials at the Suffolk’s largest credit union are hoping that the publicity from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s crusade against payday loans companies will give them a big boost.

The Ipswich and Suffolk Credit Union already works with several churches across the county, but Sally Chicken from the union said the recent publicity after Archbishop Justin Welby said he wanted to compete Wonga out of business should give them a boost.

Ms Chicken said: “We work with many faith groups in the county, some of our volunteers have got involved with us through their membership of churches.

“But the publicity that there has been on this issue over the last few days has certainly been very welcome – we would like to be able to help more people.”

Credit unions can offer loans to people who were not previously members – but for those who have saved regularly there is a lower rate of interest.

But Ms Chicken warned that many people on benefit who applied for loans did get them turned down because they simply did not have a large enough disposable income to service them.

She said: “We have to direct them grants or second-hand shops because we cannot help them.”

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Canon Jim Pendorf is Rector of Capel St Mary, and has been a member of a credit union. He welcomed the Archbishop’s comments and the boost this would give the movement.

He said: “If you look at the kind of rates charged by payday loan companies, that really is usuary – and credit unions are a great alternative to that.

“The Church is hoping to set up quite a large credit union for its clergy and to support its buildings – the largest credit union in the work is run by the US Navy. It really is an idea that is gaining support and I hope the movement will continue to grow.”

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