11th July 2014
The Church of England has pulled its investment in payday lender Wonga, that was last month order to pay compensation after sending fake debt collection letters to borrowers.
The church had come under increasing pressure to end its investment £75,000 in Wonga, which it held through an investment trust rather than directly and was particularly embarrassing considering Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has criticised payday lenders and pledged to help put Wonga out of business by supporting credit unions.
The Church Commissioners for England that deals with the church’s investments said: ‘At no time have the commissioners invested directly in Wonga or in other payday lenders.’
It added that the stake it held through the investment trust was ‘considerably less than 0.01% of the value of Wonga’ and that it was ‘absolutely delighted’ the investment had been removed from the portfolio.
The heat around the church’s Wonga investment intensified last month after it was forced to pay £2.6 million in compensation after it sent letters to 45,000 borrowers in arrears from non-existent lawyers demanding payment of loans.
The letters, sent from companies named ‘Chainey, D’Amato & Shannon’ and ‘Barker and Lowe Legal Recoveries’ between October 2008 and November 2010, threatened legal action if loans were not repaid and in some cases the cost of the ‘legal’ letters were added to customer’s accounts.
The City of London Policy have now been involved in the case and met with regulators to discuss opening a case.