25 July 2013

On putting money where my mouth is

I was quite a fan of Rowan Williams, and his little book on Lewis' Narnia, The Lion's World (SPCK, 2012) was fascinating, but the new incumbent at Lambeth, Justin Welby, is a different kettle of fish. As Ally Fogg comments in the Grauniad
The Most Rev Justin Welby hasn't been in his job too long, but I have to say I rather like the way he carries a mitre. The new Archbishop of Canterbury had barely blown the dust off the doilies at Lambeth Palace before laying into the government on their indifference to deepening poverty, stepping quietly out of the way of equal marriage reform, savaging Atos and the iniquities of the work capability assessment and tearing a strip off Lord Freud for demonising benefit claimants and food bank users. I've had new jobs where it has taken me longer than this to work out how to use the photocopier.
He is planning to address the scandal of pay-day loans, by using the "common bond" of Church of England parishes to promote the creation of credit unions (more). Brilliant! (Obviously some scoff.)

It even gave me an idea. I have some modest savings, and they are losing value all the time while interest rates are lower than inflation. So I decided to do something different with at least a chunk of them, and moved it to the local Credit Union. It's unlikely they will pay out a dividend at all, but at least it's socially useful as well as safe (the same guarantees apply as to the big banks). It's delightfully scruffy and amateurish in a way--they gave me a pass-book with hand-written entries, but recorded it on the computer as well--and it's as far removed from conventional banking as you can get.

 The customer before me had a chat with the clerk (probably a volunteer), and gave him a stick of rock she had brought back from  a break in Cromer... It's personal, and can handle small amounts of money, and it's based in a community (that's the "common bond"), and of course it is cheaper than an outfit like Wonga--which Welby wants to out-compete.

I commend them to the house!

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