The Bishop of Ludlow is encouraging people to support their local credit unions.
The Right Reverend Alistair Magowan was in Tenbury Wells this week to visit a local credit union ahead of Credit Union Day on 17 October.
He met members of the Tenbury NILS Scheme, who are also involved in running a food bank with the help of St Mary's Church, Tenbury, and a loan scheme.
His visit was part of the Diocese of Hereford's response to the Archbishop of Canterbury's suggestion to churches to get more involved in credit unions as a way of counteracting demand for payday loans which charge extortionate rates of interest.
Archbishop Justin Welby wants churches to work with credit unions to enable more people to access local, ethical and affordable financial services.
The Bishop of Ludlow hopes his visit to the Tenbury not-for-profit scheme will serve as a positive example and encourage local worshippers to find out more for themselves.
"We can all help make our local credit unions stronger by using their services and perhaps volunteering our skills," he said.
"I would encourage others to take the time this month to open a savings account or to consider using the credit union if they need a loan.
"I would also urge local employers to help their staff access the services of a Credit Union by helping people to pay in through payroll deduction – this is the most valuable way we can protect people from the high cost lenders that have become so prevalent in our society."
Credit Unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. They are licensed deposit takers, authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. The maximum by law that a credit union can charge for a loan is 2% a month on the reducing balance (26.8% APR)
The bishop added: "With successful credit unions in our community, we can be safe in the knowledge that people in need of affordable financial services have somewhere to turn when they may otherwise be tempted into reliance on high cost, risky lenders."