The Church of England is set to take on payday lender Wonga as part of a campaign to increase competition within the banking sector.
The announcement was made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, following the launch of a new credit union for clergy and church staff which took place at the General Synod in York in early July.
My Welby stated his intention to “compete” Wonga out of business through expanding the Church of England’s credit union plans. As part of this, it is hoped that church members with relevant skills will volunteer at the credit unions.
In an interview with Total Politics magazine, Mr Welby described the moment he met with Errol Damelin, the chief executive of Wonga and informed him of the Church of England’s plans.
“I’ve met the head of Wonga and we had a very good conversation and I said to him quite bluntly ‘we’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence’.”
The payday lending industry is currently worth £2bn. Earlier this year, it was referred for an extensive investigation by the Competition Commission, which has uncovered “deep-rooted” problems with the industry.