The final report of the Archbishop's Task Group
on Responsible Credit and Saving
Held on Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Sir Hector Sants (chair of the task group)
The Ven Antony MacRow-Wood (The Archdeacon of Dorset)
Malcolm Brown (director of Mission & Public Affairs's Division, Church of England)
Tom Sefton (policy adviser, LifeSavers)
David Barclay (senior network co-ordinator, CCCN)
Mick McAteer (co-director, Financial Inclusion Centre)
Christine Allison (Financial Inclusion Fellow, CSFI)
Christine Allison, CSFI Financial Inclusion Fellow, talks to Malcolm Brown, director of the Church's Mission & Public Affairs Department, about the role of the Church of England in providing socially responsible financial services.
You are probably aware of the work that the Archbishop of Canterbury set in motion a couple of years ago – initially, as a reaction to the perceived iniquities of the payday loan markets, as epitomised by Wonga. The main vehicle for this was a Task Group on Responsible Credit and Savings, chaired by Sir Hector Sants, which issued its final report in February this year.
We are delighted that Sir Hector (who recently joined Oliver Wyman in London, as a partner and Vice-Chairman) has agreed to walk us through the report, and the initiatives that have sprung from it. We are also delighted that Malcolm Brown, director of the Church’s Mission & Public Affairs Division, has agreed to join Sir Hector in explaining the Church’s role.
But that is not all. The Task Group has already generated three important initiatives:
- LifeSavers: This is a new innovative savings club and financial education programme that is due to be rolled out to 150 CofE primary schools, starting this year. We are very pleased that Tom Sefton, who leads on the Church’s response to public policy on economics and social affairs, will fill us in on where this stands.
- Church Credit Champions Network: This scheme, so far, involves 330 churches and has trained 260 Credit Champions in London, Southwark and Liverpool. David Barclay, from the Centre for Theology and Community, will explain the Church’s ambitious plans in this area.
- The Churches Mutual Credit Union: Putting its money where its mouth is, the CofE (and other denominations) launched a credit union last year – largely thanks to the Ven. Antony MacRow-Wood, a former President of ABCUL, who is now Archdeacon of Dorset. He, too, will explain what is happening in this area.
They won’t, however, get everything their own way. We are also delighted that Mick McAteer has agreed to share his thoughts on the Church’s work. Mick is the founder and director of The Financial Inclusion Centre. Previously principal policy adviser at Which? and board member of the FSA/FCA, he is currently chair of the European Commission’s Financial Services User Group.
It is all good stuff – a multi-pronged and innovative strategy directly aimed at the economically and financially vulnerable. But it is only a start, and there is a great deal more to do.