Church Of England Severs Ties With Wonga

The Church of England has announced it has withdrawn its investment from controversial payday lender Wonga.

It comes a week after the firm agreed to pay 2.6m in compensation to 45,000 customers after it was found to have sent letters from two fake law firms.

In a statement the Church of England said: “The Church Commissioners no longer have any financial or any other interest in Wonga.

“The Church Commissioners estimate that if they had had to sell their entire venture capital holdings they might have lost 3-9m to remove the exposure to Wonga, which was worth less than 100,000.

“The Commissioners are pleased that another way forward has been agreed given their fiduciary duties to clergy pensioners and to all the parts of the Church they support financially.”

The statement continued: “The Commissioners’ focus remains the mission they share with the Archbishop of Canterbury – supporting the ministry and growth of the Church of England.

“The Commissioners will also continue to seek ways, consistent with their fiduciary duties, to support the Church’s priority of promoting responsible credit and savings.”

The declaration comes a year after the leader of the Church of England – the Archbishop of Canterbury – vowed to “compete” Wonga out of existence, when it was first revealed the Church invested in the company.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said in July 2013 that he wanted to force Wonga out of business by expanding the Church of England’s credit union plans.

The number of complaints about payday lenders has doubled since 2012. The most common complaint was from people who had been pestered for cash even though they had not taken out a loan.

In almost two thirds of cases that the Financial Ombudsman took on, the office found in favour of the consumer.

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