Reverend banned from finance for making illegal church loans

Tim Wallace
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REVEREND Carmel Jones was yesterday banned from working in finance after he spent years directing funds from a credit union into The Church Organisation, rather than to the members who were supposed to get the loans, losing the union hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Jones was a director of the Pentecostal Credit Union based in Balham, where he approved loans totalling £1.2m to The Church Organisation, largely for repairs and property purchases.

The union is only allowed to make loans to its members, not outside groups, and it lost £670,000 when the Church Organisation failed to repay the loans.

“This is a disgraceful case of a credit union putting the interests of another organisation before those of its members,” said the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) Tracey McDermott. “Credit unions are vital institutions for the communities they serve, and the members of The Pentecostal Credit Union deserved better.”

All of the directors have since changed, and the union has introduced new audit procedures to monitor compliance. The union was not fined as the FSA feared this would hurt its members.