Finance: Christian bank to extend services

A Christian bank is considering expanding its services to the wider charity sector.

The Kingdom Bank, which has been authorised by the Financial Services Authority, will operate as a subsidiary of the Assemblies of God Property Trust.

The legal change gives the bank more freedom to lend to non-Christian customers than the trust. Chief executive Colin Emmett said it would initially serve the evangelical Christian market, but is undertaking research to see if general charities could also benefit from its services, which include mortgages as well as personal and savings accounts.

"Kingdom Bank has set itself some ambitious targets - recruiting thousands of customers and advancing its mortgage and insurance business," he said. "It aims to be a byword for 'values-based' banking and respectful customer service."

The Assemblies of God Property Trust, which was set up in 1954, provides banking and mortgage services to Christian organisations and had 2,000 personal and charity customers, including Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which will become customers of the new bank.

The trust is a registered charity and the Charity Commission insisted that trustees go to the High Court to obtain permission to set up Kingdom Bank as a trading subsidiary. The case concerned the use of charitable assets for commercial activities. Judges gave the go-ahead in December.

- New Christian bank established promising "values-based" banking

- Kingdom Bank set up as subsidiary of the Assemblies of God Property Trust after High Court gave permission

- Bank undertaking market research to see if charity sector wants its services

- Services include personal and savings accounts, mortgages and insurance.

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