Category : The Banking System/Sector

(Guardian) Archbishop Welby's prayers answered as payday loan firms brought to book

In 2013 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, declared war on Wonga and other payday lenders crucifying borrowers with 5,000% interest loans. Three years later it looks as if his prayers may have been answered.

CFO Lending, which was fined £34m this week by the Financial Conduct Authority, is just the latest operator brought to its knees by regulators punishing bad lending behaviour. CFO, which traded under brand names Payday First, Money Resolve and Flexible First, will have to hand money back to nearly 100,000 victims of its unfair practices.

Citizens Advice said complaints about payday loans have collapsed by 86% between 2013 and 2016. But campaigners warn that the industry is reinventing itself with still “eye-watering” interest rates on three-month loans aimed at people earning less than £20,000 a year on insecure work contracts.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Independent) Forget Brexit ”” Italy is poised to tear Europe apart

All eyes have turned to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union as having the most drastic political and economic impact onto the 28-nation state but if you look at the country’s economic data, bank issues, and the impending constitutional referendum coming up, Italy is like a bomb waiting to explode.

The Italian financial system, which to put it gently, is in a major state of flux right now. While Britain’s EU referendum in June was seismic in terms of having economic and political repercussions across the bloc, there is another referendum of equal importance, coming up in Italy in October, and the result could fundamentally alter the state of the already delicate Italian economy.

Italians will have a say on reforms to its Senate, the upper house of parliament, in October. The proposed reforms are widespread, and if approved could improve the stability of Italy’s political set up and allow Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to push through laws aimed at improving the country’s economic competitiveness.

Read it all and make sure to take a careful look at the productivity graph.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Italy, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard–Was Brexit fear a giant hoax or is this the calm before the next storm?

What we have learnt from the market moves since Brexit is that Europe is just as vulnerable as Britain. The vote has already triggered a banking crisis in Italy, where the government is struggling to put together a €40bn (£33bn) rescue but is paralysed by the constraints of euro membership.

The eurozone authorities never sorted out the structural failings of EMU. There is still no fiscal union or banking union worth the name. The North-South chasm remains, worsened by a deflationary bias. The pathologies fester.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(NYT Beliefs) Full Faith and Credit: Christian Groups Unite Against Predatory Lending

Jason Carrier, a pastor at Southgate Baptist Church, which, like Mr. Drewery’s church, is in Springfield, Ohio, is trying to help his church start a “grace-based lending” program that worshipers can use in place of payday lending. The program would direct any fees charged above the principal into savings accounts for the borrower, not into lenders’ pockets.

“In conjunction with a credit union, the money ”” for lack of a better word, we’ll call it interest ”” goes into a savings account, so they are learning to save money,” Mr. Carrier said. “To use the service, you have to take some classes, and you have a financial coach that will help you and walk with you along the way.”

Mr. Carrier’s church has already tested its program with several needy members. Ultimately, he said, he would like to directly challenge the payday lenders. “We’d like to have a storefront, just like your Check ’n Gos, but with space in the back for classes and financial coaching.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Adult Education, Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(CEN) Church’s network of credit champions goes national

The Just Finance Network, formerly known as the Church Credit Champions Network (CCCN), has proposed a nationwide roll out of ”˜credit champions’ to help people manage money and debt.

The scheme has already been piloted in churches in London, Southwark and Liverpool and has trained more than 260 volunteers. Organisers believe it is now ready to go nationwide.

Of the Church Credit Champions Network, the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, said that desperate people had been exploited by unscrupulous credit providers locking them into a crippling spiral of debt.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(CEN) Church Film series gives money perspective

”˜To Your Credit’, the local churches’ grassroots movement and the Archbishop’s initiative to create a fairer financial system, has released the first of a series of four 10-minute films on ”˜Money, Debt and Salvation.’ Six theologians will offer reflections on money and debt.

The Archbishop features in the first of the series, in a call to ”˜challenge the sovereignty of money’.

“Credit and debt is one of the key issues that people face because it’s pervasive, it’s everywhere”¦ The reason it’s so important is because the knock-on effect of credit and debt going wrong is so destructive. People’s lives are torn apart, their families are damaged.

“It’s a prophetic thing to get stuck into these issues because we have to challenge the sovereignty of money and finance over every aspect of our life. And to say in quite a revolutionary way, no you’re not in charge, human beings are the ultimate value.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Movies & Television, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Guardian) The unique role of the church in the battle for financial inclusion

Justin Welby captured the attention of the nation in 2013 when he declared war on Wonga and pledged the support of the church in the fight for financial inclusion. And yet, alongside the positive headlines, a common question emerged in response: what does the church really have to offer to people struggling on low incomes and preyed on by exploitative lenders, except perhaps a some spiritual support and comfort?

The answer has come in the form of the Church Credit Champions Network, a project funded by Lloyds Banking Group that has been piloting in London and Liverpool since the spring of 2014. It helps equip local churches to engage with money and debt issues, and has formed a key part of the task group set up by the archbishop of Canterbury and chaired by former City regulator Sir Hector Sants.

The church has both an unmatched “branch network”, with a presence in every community in the country, and a range of different resources, such as people, money, skills and buildings, which are all potentially of value to credit unions and others seeking to increase access to savings and affordable credit in their communities. The network helps churches to listen and reflect on what is happening within their local community in terms of money and debt, and then trains up clergy and church members as ”credit champions”, ready to take practical action.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Deep in debt? Birmingham Alabama Church pays off payday loans for 48 of its members

The Worship Center Christian Church in Birmingham announced during services on Sunday morning that it will pay off the payday loans of 48 people struggling with debt.

Those whose loans are being paid off owe a combined total of more than $41,000 and are paying high interest rates of 36 percent and much higher. Payday loans are unsecured cash advances that people use to make it through to the next payday. Payday loan centers proliferate throughout Alabama.

“It’s kind of a ticking time bomb with high interest rates,” Senior Pastor Van Moody said in an interview after the service. “That’s why many people never get out.”

Those having their loans paid off will be required to undergo financial counseling and attend financial workshops so they don’t get in the same fix again, Moody said.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

([London] Times) Banker Sir Jeremy Morse, the inspiration for Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse, RIP

Sir Jeremy Morse was one of the most intellectually gifted London bankers of the postwar era. He led Lloyds Bank through the challenges of Big Bang, the reorganisation of stock exchange practices and the third world debt crisis, and saw it emerge as one of the strongest of Britain’s retail banking groups.

With the air of a don rather than a City banker, he was skilled at crosswords and brain-teaser puzzles and was even acknowledged as the inspiration for Inspector Morse. The detective’s creator, Colin Dexter, named the character after him because he said that he had never encountered a finer problem-solving mind.

Knowing he had inspired Inspector Morse gave him great pleasure. He was introduced to Dexter in the 1950s at dinners hosted by The Observer for those who had solved their Ximenes crossword. Unlike his fictional alter-ego, Morse said, “I am distressingly unmelancholy.” He drank wine, albeit in moderation, and listened to Bach rather than wallowing in Wagner.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Books, Economy, England / UK, History, Marriage & Family, The Banking System/Sector

(C of E) Churches' Mutual Credit Union approaches its first anniversary

Would people join? When the idea of a Church Credit Union was first mooted (some eight years ago), the feedback was positive, but would that general level of interest translate into real live members? The answer to that one is ”˜yes it has’. It was with great excitement we watched our first applications come through. We operate an online system that sends us an email every time someone joins and it was marvellous to open the mailbox and see twenty new applicants just on the first day and it is rare a day goes by without at least one new member. And yes, we do have a lot of members who are ordained ministers but we also have PCC members, and Elders, and Office staff and a membership that is as diverse as our churches.

The second question was ”˜will people save?’ On the 11th February 2015 the credit union had an empty balance sheet but since then 200 people have become Founder Members of the credit union, investing an amazing £910,000 to add to the £386,000 in deferred shares invested by our denominational partners big and small. We also gained 350 regular savers depositing an average of £40 a month into their accounts.

The next step was would people borrow? Not guaranteed in our perceived debt adverse client base. Again since May, credit union loans have purchased 83 cars, two caravans and a motorbike, we have improved seven homes and furnished two others and helped to pay for one wedding. We’ve also walked alongside 11 households in helping to turn unmanageable debt into affordable credit.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Economics, Politics, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(Telegraph) Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: the Fed will have to reverse gears fast if anything goes wrong

[The data in the economic background paints]…a very murky picture. This is the first time the Fed has ever embarked on tightening cycle when the ISM gauge of manufacturing is below the boom-bust line of 50. Nominal GDP growth in the US has been trending down from 5pc in mid-2014 to barely 3pc.

Danny Blanchflower, a Dartmouth professor and a former UK rate-setter, said the US labour market is not as tight as it looks. Inflation is nowhere near its 2pc target and the world economy is still gasping for air. He sees a 50/50 chance that the Fed will have to pirouette and go back to the drawing board.

“All it will take is one shock,” said Lars Christensen, from Markets and Money Advisory. “It is really weird that they are raising rates at all. Capacity utilization in industry has been falling for five months.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The U.S. Government, Theology

David Ould–The Diocese of Bathurst Loses Major Court Case and Faces Possible Bankruptcy

The court found that the Bank had a contract with the Diocese, as represented by the Bishop in Council and that there was a real guarantee made to honour the loan. Further, the court found that the BiC has an obligation to promote the necessary ordinances to levy the funds required (i.e. general diocesan assets including, if necessary, church buildings and properties should be sold to make good the debt).

This obviously puts the diocese in a dire position. It is widely acknowledged that it will be unable to meet these debts and continue to function in any general sense as it currently does. So where to from here?

It’s less than 24 hours since the judgement was passed down but I’ve been able to canvas a range of responses from senior and informed figures in the Anglican Church of Australia.

Amongst many there is a genuine sorrow for the diocese which is now facing a major crisis, and also for Bishop Ian Palmer who is not in perfect health. But options are limited. This will now be a test of the national church’s understanding of its own mutuality. To what extent should other dioceses get involved to help out? What role should the Primate or the General Synod take? When the crisis first developed a financial advisory group went to meet with then Bishop Hurford. They were, it’s fair to say, sent packing. More recently at a General Synod Standing Committee meeting one member urged the Standing Committee to “either send a condolence card or stand shoulder to shoulder”. But which will it be?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

(FT) US banks build defences against economic downturn

Wall Street’s biggest banks are beginning to build their defences against downturns, signalling an end to the steady thinning of reserves that has helped boost profits in the past five years.

Tapping into reserves set aside for bad loans has become a reliable source of income for the banks in the post-crisis environment, allowing them to offset the effects of weak demand and ultra-low interest rates. Regulators let lenders dip into reserves in this way if they can argue that an improving outlook makes losses less likely.

But the practice is expected to have a limited impact on the banks’ third-quarter profits, which begin to be presented this week, because reserves have been run down about as far as they can go.

While some banks with plump cushions of reserves could still make net reductions, others are at an “inflection point,” said Jennifer Thompson, an analyst at Portales Partners in New York. Lenders with big exposures to energy could see “dramatic” increases in reserves, she said, while related sectors such as materials, commodities and industrials also look vulnerable to rises.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Archbishop Justin Welby's sermon at commissioning of Church Credit Champions

Those of you who are shortly going to be commissioned as Church Credit Champions have heard God’s call, as the whole church has in recent years, to be a church of the poor for the poor; to seek justice and the common good for all in our society.

You have set up credit union access points in your churches, brought new people onto the boards of local credit unions, supported people struggling with debt through signposting them to debt advice resources.

You have seen the need, and you have met it with love, grace and hope.

We all know that the Christian relationship with money is, at best, slightly ambivalent. We recognise when it’s got the wrong place, but we find it quite hard to find the right place.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance, Preaching / Homiletics, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

Archbishop Welby commissions Credit Champions to help churches support people struggling with money

The church has heard a fresh call to be “a church of the poor for the poor” in recent years, the Archbishop of Canterbury said last night as he commissioned volunteers to help churches engage with issues of credit and debt in their communities.

Speaking during a special service at St George-in-the-East in Shadwell, London, the Archbishop told more than 50 volunteers ”“ who have taken part in a pilot scheme in London, Southwark and Liverpool dioceses ”“ that they had “seen the need, and met it with love, grace and hope.”

The first phase of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Church Credit Champions Network is on course to secure benefits worth over £2million for local communities.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Religion & Culture, The Banking System/Sector, Theology