Approval has been given by the regulators for the Catholic Church in England and Wales and in Scotland to become the latest Christian denomination to be included in the Common Bond of the Churches' Mutual Credit Union (CMCU).
The move boosts the potential membership of the CMCU by an estimated further 37,000 people from eligible groups such as Catholic clergy and employees of the Catholic dioceses, including Catholic schools. The Credit Union will be rolling out membership throughout this year starting with the Diocese of Westminster.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: "I am delighted that the Catholic Church in England and Wales and in Scotland is now under the Churches' Mutual Credit Union umbrella, this marks a huge step forward in our efforts to build a strong credit union sector in this country not just in the poorest areas but for everyone.
"I congratulate all those who have worked so hard to make the CMCU a success and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow in the future."
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, said: "I'm glad to become a member of CMCU. Their work today is very important as this is a financial institution that directly reflects our shared effort to give everyone the opportunity to manage financially and to make the best of their resources.
"This Credit Union echoes clearly important aspects of our Christian understanding of working together for the common good."
The CMCU was launched in February 2015 by Archbishop Justin and other church leaders with the Church of England, Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Church in Wales as founder members. The United Reformed Church joined last year.
At its AGM held last Friday, the CMCU celebrated a year of growth with members approving the levels of dividend to be paid to all savers. The Credit Union, which started with an empty balance sheet, now has savings deposits of £2.5 million and a net loan book of more than £1.6 million.
Ven Antony MacRow-Wood, CMCU president, said: 'I am delighted to be in the position to report such strong growth and pleased that the credit union is able to reflect this growth in both the rate of dividend payable on savings and the fact we are able to announce a further cut in our lending rates. We are a lender which can both compete in the lending market and offer a personal and ethical service."