This is a text-only version of an article first published on Thursday, 17 October 2013. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.
Richard Josephs, manager of Oxford Credit Union with the Bishop of Dorchester the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher THREE bishops have put their money where their mouths are by investing in the Oxford Credit Union as part of an awareness-raising campaign. The Rt Revd John Pritchard, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Colin Fletcher, the Bishop of Dorchester, and the Rt Revd Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, signed on the dotted line on International Credit Union Day. The move is part of a national campaign by the Archbishop of Canterbury which will see bishops up and down the UK pledging their support for credit unions - institutions set up to offer low interest loans, savings schemes and other financial services in the towns and cities where they are based. Credit Unions are often able to help local people who cannot get a high street bank account or a loan with a high street bank and are tailored to the needs of the community they serve. The Church of England nationally and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby , are urging churches and individual Christians to invest in, borrow from and volunteer to help credit unions in a bid to seeing them grow and be able to help more people.
Bishop John with Mark Luntley, Chair of OCU:
Bishop John said: "Credit unions are a positive and ethical alternative to pay day lenders.
I hope more people will turn to them for short-term loans rather than end up in a debilitating cycle of debt by borrowing from loan sharks.
I would urge churches and Christians to invest in, to volunteer for and help publicise their credit union. "Bishop Colin said: "Churches, and individual Christians have a strong record of involvement with Credit Unions over many years. I'm delighted that the Archbishop has drawn attention to the need to grow this provision.
I already know the trustees at the Oxford Credit Union and I'm looking forward to joining on Thursday. "Richard Josephs, manager of the Oxford Credit Union, said that since Archbishop Justin first began publicising credit unions in the summer, there had been an increase in the number of people applying to use their services. He said: "There have definitely been more people coming in to set up accounts and making appointments for loans.
We are grateful for the publicity as we are still reliant on grants and donations and we are keen to raise awareness. "One of the Oxford Credit Union members, Alan Fowler, 50, says the union helped him get a job.
He said: "I was unemployed when I first joined and I needed a loan to keep my car on the road.
There was no way I could afford my car tax or insurance on benefits and I needed my car for a course I was doing and to look for jobs.
The credit union helped me get a job that I've been in for two years now". The Bishop of Oxford visited Oxford Credit Union and the Bishop of Dorchester visited SOHA in Didcot which works in partnership with the OCU. For advice about how to support credit unions, see the Church of England's website.