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Pentecostal Credit Union shamed by FSA over 'disgraceful' loans

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PCU issued loans worth £1.2m to a Pentecostal church organisation without the knowledge of its members.

 

A credit union that put its members' money at risk by secretly channelling funds to a church organisation has been named and shamed by the Financial Services Authority. Pentecostal Credit Union, based in Balham, south-west London, was slammed by the FSA for its "disgraceful" behaviour after it issued loans worth £1.2m in the names of its members when in actual fact it was lending the money to a Pentecostal church organisation. It is the latest blow for the credit union movement, coming days after one of the sector's biggest players, the North Yorkshire Credit Union, went bust – the sixth union to collapse so far in 2012.

 

Set up in 1980, Pentecostal Credit Union has about 1,600 members drawn from congregations of Pentecostal churches. The FSA said the seriousness of its failings warranted a financial penalty, but as this would impact on all the members the regulator had decided to "publicly censure" the union. The union's director, Reverend Carmel Jones, escaped a fine but has been banned from the industry for overseeing this practice. The FSA said that before coming under regulation in 2002 the credit union was making regular loans to the church organisation, but was later warned it must stop doing so. Nevertheless, between May 2007 and July 2011 it made at least 20 loans to the church organisation in the names of 15 individual members. These loans totalled £1.2m and ranged in size from £7,500 to £87,500.

 

More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/nov/12/pentecostal-credit-union-shamed-fsa-disgraceful-loans


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