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CofE enters banking market

The setting up of the Church Credit Champions Network (CCCN) follows the Archbishop of Canterbury's outspoken threat last year to force industry leader Wonga "out of business."

Most Revd Justin Welby was later left red faced after learning the Church had itself invested in Wonga as part of its pension fund, which its in the process of selling; most likely at a huge loss.

Unperturbed, the new CCCN is now aiming to create a network of people who will bring together churches, communities and responsible lenders.

The scheme is being piloted in three Church of England Dioceses - Southwark, Liverpool and London - with members acting as advocates for the community finance providers.

CCCN spokesman Andy Walton told Premier's Des Busteed on the News Hour how it will manage to promote the use of credit unions over payday lenders.

It's headed up by the former Financial Services Authority boss Hector Sants, who has also been leading the Archbishop's Task Group on the issue.

Sir Hector said: "This is a grass roots initiative that will only succeed with the enthusiasm and engagement of the local Church.

"Central to this engagement will be the flexibility to adapt to local circumstances and the willingness to learn from all as we go along.

"I hope that today's event will demonstrate to you the impact success in this area would have, not only on the mission of the Church, but also, crucially, on individual lives.

"I am confident that the successful implementation of the Church Credit Champions Network will equip churches to be even more relevant to their local communities, and transform the lives of the many people we hope will be served as a result.

"Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, is leading the campaign in the Diocese of London. Bishop Adrian said, "I am very excited about the launch of the Church Credit Champions Network. The leadership shown by Archbishop Justin and Sir Hector Sants has inspired us.

"We are aiming to train and resource churches in London and Liverpool to become key partners of their local credit union.

"This is a much-needed step in building the profile and strength of credit unions - which are a vital, ethical source of credit for our local communities.

The Church Credit Champions Network is a joint project of the Contextual Theology Centre and the Church Urban Fund and is being delivered with the assistance of the Church Urban Fund's Together network.

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