The Pentecostal Credit Union has just celebrated its 40th anniversary. The PCU’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Elaine Bowes, explains its origins, philosophy and what it offers today…
The Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU) was founded in 1980 by Rev Carmel Jones (see photo below). PCU was born from a desire to address the financial inequalities and exclusion that Black communities and Black Majority Churches were experiencing at that time. Its first meeting was in Rev Jones’ living room in his house in Balham South London, and from that most humble beginning has grown one of the strongest credit unions in the UK today. So PCU has grown from a vision – a vision of social justice translated into action – making a difference to many people’s lives.
Churches working together
Individual and corporate membership of PCU spans all the main Pentecostal denominations in the UK. Our products and services and development programmes are an example of Pentecostal churches and their congregants working together to achieve the economic empowerment vision. PCU’s achievements and successes are the achievement and successes of the membership.
Who we are
PCU is rooted in the Pentecostal Faith. We are a not-for-profit financial co-operative, owned and run by our members – who are drawn from Pentecostal congregations across the whole of the UK. PCU provides a safe, ethical, and convenient way to save and to borrow at fair rates of interest. Through our services, we ensure that any individual, church group or business that practices the Pentecostal faith can receive financial support. Since 1980 PCU has provided an ethical and trustworthy alternative to high street financial institutions. So, we are inspired by our faith and directed by our members to achieve our vision to be the preferred finance partner for every Pentecostal Christian household in the UK.
Known as the credit union that understands faith and finance, we identify with the needs of our members and we believe in their financial empowerment to develop their potential and to build their economic health to achieve their aspirations. A credit union such as ours is the perfect vehicle for the delivery of financial services that are community based. The community pools its resources – those with more money save so that those who need to borrow can do so. There are benefits for all;
- For savers – higher interest/ dividend on savings;
- For borrowers – better/lower rates of interest and better terms;
- For everyone – a great relationship with the PCU as we are all part of a community whose purpose is to improve the economic lives of everyone in the community.
Importantly PCU is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and authorized and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). Our focus is on providing a more efficient, effective, and personal service for our all members, and as a result we can boast an enviably high level of customer satisfaction.
Investing in our members
We believe that everyone who travels with us should be enriched by the journey and to ensure that this is the case we offer:
- free financial capability workshops to our members and churches in our common bond community, called Moneywise.
- a long-term leadership development programme to our Junior Savers aged 11 – 18 – Our Youth Shadow Board
- a business development programme for those of our members who have entrepreneurial ambitions.
We believe in the economic empowerment of our members so that they can fulfil their potential and achieve their aspirations.
COVID-19 and the Future
COVID-19 19 has bought many challenges for our members, and we have developed an approach to not only try to ease the financial responsibilities that they have with us at this time, but also to support them through these difficulties. We believe that the COVID-19 economic recovery will be a digital one – we have already witnessed the turbo charge in our digital and technological advances because of lockdown. At PCU we remain vigilant in this regard and are committed to continue to support our members in the Covid recovery as far as we can by providing support to those that need to upskill and reskill for the changes that are already upon us and that will continue.
In this time of crisis and uncertainty we remain committed to providing the best service that we can to our members, which includes being as flexible and as compassionate as we can be – as we all cope with the challenges presented by COVID-19. As a Christian organisation we move into the future with hope, and embrace at this time the scripture 1 Peter 5:10:
“After you have suffered for a little while, The God of Grace, The One who called you into His Eternal Glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself restore, empower, strengthen and establish you.”
Find out more about the Pentecostal Credit Union