Chris Smith warns the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions

Co-operative Credit Union’s own director, Chris Smith, attended the Palace of Westminster last week and took part in a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions to discuss and seek input to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings.

In a well-attended meeting officiated by Chair of the APPG, Damian Hinds MP, and the Group’s Secretary, Yvonne Fovargue MP, Sir Hector Sants set out how the Task Group has broadened its focus from just credit unions in recognition that the sector is only part of the solution to problem debt and low levels of saving.  He set out the sheer scale of the problem of financial distress and how the Task Group has set itself the mission of coming up with practical solutions and interventions that the Church can make rather than deliberating on moral questions around credit and debt which are being addressed by a parallel theological group. 

Chris Smith told the meeting that he had been contacted by several church groups recently that wanted to create, or introduce, a credit union alongside a recently started Food Bank. He said, “We must guard against reinforcing the notion that credit unions are only for the disadvantaged in society. Food banks are hopefully not here to stay but credit unions are here to stay and unless the wider community, and congregations, join existing credit unions and participate themselves, credit unions will not be able to fulfil the ambitious wishes of the church community”. He added, “I applaud the support and interest of the Christian community, but I appeal to them to not see credit unions as something for the ‘poor of the parish’ and not for them selves”.

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 Co-operative Credit Union Director Chris Smith