Black church leaders have given support to Rev Carmel Jones, founder of the Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU), after he was publicly censured and banned by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) from running a credit union. He was accused of issuing loans worth £1.2m under members’ names, but channelling the money to a church organisation.
The National Church Leaders Forum (NCLF), which represents Britain’s Black church leaders, commended Rev Jones for providing a valued financial service to the Black community and, whilst understanding the reasons why the FSA censured Rev Jones, stated that the use of phrases like ‘disgraceful behaviour’ to describe his breech give the wrong impression, as Rev Jones did not profit from his actions.
Bishop John Francis of Ruach Ministries says, “Rev Jones and the PCU have been an asset to our church, because when our bank said ‘No’ it was the credit union that provided us with a loan to purchase our building. The banks were simply not lending to Black churches. I am sorry that the creative ways by which Rev Jones was able to assist us and others has landed him in trouble with the FSA. Rev Jones is a good man.”
Rev Delroy Powell of the New Testament Assembly said, “I know first-hand of the three decades of relentless efforts Rev Jones has given to servicing the needs of our people, when no other help was there. I am pleased that, now the FSA rules have been changed, the PCU is no longer restricted and forced to use ‘creative’ ways to assist our community.”
One fact not highlighted in the public censure was that the PCU was launched in 1979, because Black people and organisations found it difficult to get loans from high street banks, and that the PCU had been lending to churches before the FSA was established in 2002.
After joining the FSA, the PCU was warned to stop lending to corporate bodies. Desirous to assist Black churches, Rev Jones suggested to the FSA ways that would allow the PCU to continue to do so, but when these ideas were rejected, the PCU continued to make such loans, which was in breach of guidelines.