At our JustMoney conference in November 2022 we were pleased to welcome Elaine Bowes from the Pentecostal Credit Union (PCU). Elaine shared the story of the roots of PCU, which grew out of a desire to address the financial inequalities and exclusion that Black communities and Black Majority Churches were experiencing in the UK. You can read more about PCU’s history here.
As Elaine explores in this blog, PCU has grown from strength to strength and has embedded Biblical values at the heart of its work on financial empowerment and education.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 2 Peter 1:5-7
The Pentecostal Credit Union is one of the oldest credit unions in the UK established in 1980. Our objective is to economically empower our members who come from the Pentecostal faith community across the whole of the UK.
You will probably know that credit unions are effectively community banks, co-operatively established with the sole purpose of meeting the financial needs of their members, and not to make profits for anonymous shareholders.
The Credit Unions Act 1979 sets out the key objects of a credit union, one of which is ‘’the training and education of members in the wise use of money and in the management of their financial affairs’’.
Over the last six or seven years, we have been particularly active in this space, as we see this as key to fulfilling our objective of economically empowering our members. In so doing we developed a model of ‘money mindset’ that we call Moneywise. We believe this formula provides the essential foundation of money management.
Moneywise – as we use it – is a biblical construct. We looked carefully at the scripture 2 Peter 1:5-7 and recognised the model of what we would term today Emotional Intelligence1 reflected in Simon Peter’s message to the Christians of the day advocating how to grow in godliness or spiritual maturity. Just as the modern concept of Emotional Intelligence tell us that growing in wisdom requires us to start at the beginning with self-awareness – and transitions in specific order, building competence as you grow – through to self-control, motivation, empathy, and finally social skills (loosely), so does Peter’s message in so far as he ‘adds to’ the competence outlined before.
So, we took this model as outlined in 2 Peter 1 and applied it to growth in financial wisdom – or becoming Moneywise.
So, what are the key elements of Moneywise? They are:
- Growing in self-knowledge and understanding about yourself and your relationship with money.
- Knowing the difference between what you need and what you want.
- Managing yourself and your impulses. Having a financial plan that you stick to. Delaying gratification;
- Knowing that there is more to life than money. Putting your relationship with God, your health and emotional wellbeing, your family, and your relationships above the pursuit of money;
- Caring about your environment, the community you live in and the people you share the planet with;
- Giving and sharing your wealth and your time;
- Being ethical, trustworthy and acting with integrity;
- Being accountable and taking responsibility;
- Building positive relationships and working with others to build a better community.
You will see that there are essential aspects of Moneywise that are not just about money. You may note that in this inventory there’s a significant shift away from self to caring for others. We believe that this shift provides the antidote to the potential to move towards the ‘dark side’ – the glamourisation of money, or the love of money. The Moneywise person is independent, self-confident, knowledgeable and always developing, ethical, in control, caring and wise.
So Moneywise is not a set of rules about behaviour. It is a way of being – it is about living and growing in wisdom.
As well as being the basis for all our financial capability training, we focus heavily on this model in the development of our Youth Shadow Board (YSB). The PCU YSB are a small group drawn from our Junior Savers who are on a long-term leadership development programme. As part of their leadership development training, they receive in-depth financial capability training and have become so adept that they now provide that training to their peers in Pentecostal churches across the UK.
We have recently developed a Financial Wellbeing strategy, with financial education at the core. It moves through the various stages of life from Foundations to Developing a community of savers, Credit Counts, Access to high quality debt advice and finally Future Focus. There are resource pages, and we are planning a series of webinars focusing on each of those five change agendas. For more information go to https://www.pcuuk.com/Financial_Wellbeing_1
Elaine Bowes is Head of Marketing and Communications at The Pentecostal Credit Union.
Reflect and take action
- Having read Elaine’s blog, which of the Moneywise elements would you like to explore further in your own use of money? Are there any other principles you would add? Do share your thoughts in the comments section.
- Go to the Banking page on the Money Makes Change hub to find out more about ethical banking.
- Find and support a credit union here: https://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk
1In fact, it seemed to us that Emotional Intelligence was developed from Peter’s message – though we are not scholars and can’t be sure that it was – but what we can see is that here it is – nearly two thousand years before the academic Daniel Goleman popularised the concept of Emotional Intelligence in his first book on the subject published in 1996. Those of you in HR or OD will know that EI can be applied to almost anything -it is so rich, deeply meaningful and has enormous capacity with respect to application.