THE Church of England is backing an organisation which it says is a credit to ethical lending in Dudley.

The Church of England deposited £15,000 from its Social Responsibility Fund with Castle & Crystal Credit Union.

Unlike many banks and payday loan companies, credit unions are co-operatives with no external shareholders and only lend money which has been deposited by its members.

Robert Higham, diocesan secretary for the Diocese of Worcester, said: “With a well established credit union in our community, it gives people in need of affordable financial services somewhere to turn and helps them to make ends meet.

"As well as investing some of our Social Responsibility Fund money, we will be encouraging local church members to think about whether they might be able to open a deposit account as a way of investing money which they might need in the future, but which could be put to good use in the meantime.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been encouraging churches to work with credit unions and the man who holds the boroughs purse strings was on hand to show his support for the credit union.

Councillor Pete Lowe, Dudley cabinet member for finance, said: “Castle & Crystal is a true community bank offering local people a fair and affordable savings and loans service.”

For more information call 01384 815771, visit the branch at 25 New Street, Dudley or the service desk in Stourbridge Library or visit

Meanwhile another politician, who is waging war on payday loan companies by backing credit unions, has welcomed his party's plans for tough new controls.

Dudley North MP Ian Austin welcomed Labour leader Ed Miliband's plans for a tax on payday lenders which he says would raise millions of pounds to fund credit unions.

Ian Austin MP said: “The growth of payday loans shops is an absolute disgrace. I want to drive the payday loan shops out of Dudley High Street.

“Money’s tight for a lot of families in Dudley at the moment but these predatory businesses make their money by piling debt upon debt and making poor people poorer.

“I want help for responsible lenders like the Castle & Crystal credit union here in Dudley, and I’m pleased that Ed Miliband plans to do just that.”