NCLF forms questions with a brief profile from Shane Bowes, new Chief Executive Officer of the Pentecostal Credit Union Ltd
When and Why was PCU formed?
The Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU) formally came into being in 1980. It emerged out of the struggles that many black and minority ethnic people arriving in the UK had to contend with, in particular the barriers put up by financial institutions to lending and inclusion in the financial environment. PCU provided a positive response to these financial difficulties.
What is a Credit Union?
A Credit union is a financial co-operative that offers its members loans out of savings made by the membership. A Credit Union is formed by a group of people who share a common interest or ‘bond’. Credit unions aim to encourage financial thrift – to encourage people to save and provide members with affordable sources of credit. Many have emerged out of a desire to ensure that opportunities are made available to people on low incomes, or who have problems in saving or achieving a good credit history. Credit unions are unique in that they follow a philosophy of self-help, members control, and economic democracy.
What is different about PCU and other Credit Unions in the UK?
The common bond of PCU is membership or close affiliation with the Pentecostal Church movement in the UK. Credit unions have been an integral part of Caribbean life for many years, and in the case of PCU allied to this is the growth of the black majority church in the UK. Marrying the black Pentecostal Church movement and the concept of credit unions can therefore be seen as a powerful and positive influence for black communities across the UK. The two entities – the Pentecostal church and the credit union movement – fit well together reflecting principles of fairness, helping ones neighbours, justice and working to make the world a better place to live in. Credit unions are concerned with people helping people, with a motto of ‘not for profit, not for charity, but for service’. These approaches reflect the teachings and values of the Pentecostal Church. PCU has been seen as a vehicle for social and financial inclusion for black communities in the UK.
How would you summarise PCU’s success to date?
Over the past 32 years PCU – through imagination, determination, commitment and strong beliefs – has grown to become one of the strongest and financially robust credit unions in the country. It holds members deposits of over £8m and a loan book of £5.5million.
PCU is promoting membership and encourages individuals, businesses and churches who share the common bond to get in touch and find out how we can help to improve your lives.
Contact: Shane Bowes Chief Executive officer
The Pentecostal Credit Union Ltd
15 Oldridge Road
London SW12 8PL
Tel 0208 673 2542