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Pentecostal Credit Union founder reflects on 40 years of service to the sector

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17 Aug 18

Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU) has been celebrating the achievements of the Windrush generation – 70 years on after the first group came to Britain. The Windrush generation has had huge significance for PCU, it was Reverend Carmel Jones who arrived in Britain from Jamaica in 1955, and met the CEO of the Credit Union League of Great Britain (later ABCUL) along with 20 PCU founding members in his front room in 1979 to discuss launching the credit union. Now at the age of 80, Rev. Jones reflects on almost 40 years of service to the credit union sector.

Over the years, the PCU has provided loans for pastors to buy churches as well as make essential high – priced purchases, and for individual's to start businesses. It was in support of these churches and their members that Rev. Jones conceived and launched PCU which was established in 1980. Credit unions were a common feature of Caribbean life and it was no accident that Caribbean families were early promoters of them in the UK. In an interview with Keep the Faith magazine, Rev Jones talk about his life with PCU in a special edition celebrating the Windrush generation.

Rev. Jones said: “The inspiration came from my concern about the lack of preparedness of mainstream banks to lend money to Black and ethnic communities, and to Black people in particular; but worst still, to purchase places of worship for the people of God.

“Pastors wanting to buy a place of their own, or thinking of purchasing a place, would always come to the credit union first. It is commonly appreciated that where some banks would say ‘No’, the Credit Union would say ‘Yes’. The credit union has faith in the Pentecostal Movement, because of its driving force that it is a disgrace to borrow and not pay back. PCU works with pastors by drawing up business plans, making projections and advising how and when plans may be implemented.”

Now under new leadership, the PCU is on a mission to support entrepreneurship and wealth-building in the Black community. The financial strength of the PCU continues to grow, with our total assets standing at over £10m and with loan allocations of £5.3m in the 2016-17 financial year.

Speaking about the progress the PCU has made in the last few years, Rev. Jones said: “It makes the PCU and our members feel excited. It is very gratifying to hear our members publicly and privately singing the credit union’s praises. Of course, satisfaction is a driving force. We run surveys from time to time, asking members to tell us how they rate the service they receive on a scale of one to 10. We ask members to list any additional services they would like us to provide, in addition to what’s already on offer. Finally, the survey is confidential; members are asked not to sign the survey and they are encouraged to offer critique.”

Rev. Jones looks forward to the future of PCU and gives his opinion on what it should be focusing on to further its development, he said: “The PCU should continue to educate and train people in the wise use of money, such as what the Communication Director is doing, engage with the vibrancy of the field of entrepreneurs, and continue to invest in digital technology”.

PCU has recently launched their new website which is a clean design, with improved functionality and enhanced rich content to give members and easy and convenient way to manage their finances.

In just a few clicks, visitors can sign up as members in a secure environment and existing members can now make an online debit or credit card payment to any PCU share or loan account.

To read Rev. Jones full interview with Keep the Faith magazine, please click here.

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