Tynedale Community Bank launched in November 2015, the result of months of hard work from Bishop Prince credit union, Guy Opperman MP, Hexham Abbey and the Diocese of Newcastle.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu joined a service of celebration and commitment for the launch of TCB in Hexham Abbey and then joined volunteers outside the Abbey to hand out information and membership forms in Hexham marketplace.
Inspired by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call for the church to support community-based banking, TCB offers a viable alternative to pay-day lenders for the 55,000 residents in the Tynedale area of Northumberland.
TCB will offer the same services as established partner Prince Bishops credit union, offering affordable loans and savings schemes The bank will be run by volunteers and will open every Tuesday morning at the Parsh Centre, Hexham Abbey.
Dr Sentamu spoke about why the church was involved in the initiative to bring community banking to Tynedale:
Whether we like it or not money either enslaves us or helps us to be free. Money used to be a means of exchanging goods but it’s now actually become a product and there are many people caught up or trapped into quite a lot of unsecured debt.
Tynedale Community Bank will help people to do two things: to save and to get loans that are affordable for most people It will also to put the money back into the community . This is a wonderful thing.
The new Bishop of Newcastle, Christine Hardman, who takes up her post on the 12th December, said,
I am so encouraged and thrilled that the Tynedale Community Bank project is now underway. I congratulate all who have worked so hard to arrive at this moment and pray for the ongoing life of this wonderful project which will help so many people and make such a positive contribution to the community.
Guy Opperman MP spoke of his hope for the Community Bank:
There is a definite gap in the market between high street banks that are disappearing from rural Northumberland – and into that gap comes a community bank based here in Hexham which can provide proper local community lending.