Business

Payday lenders hit by changing views, Church says

Archbishop of Canterbury Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Archbishop of Canterbury wanted to promote credit unions

A "sea change in public and political opinion" about payday lenders has brought falls in use of these loans, a Church taskforce has concluded.

The report highlighted that payday lending had fallen by 68% from 2013.

In 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury told online lender Wonga that the Church would try to force it out of business by helping credit unions.

But it emerged that the Church of England had indirectly invested £75,000 in the company.

The Church announced that it had ended its ties with Wonga in 2014.

The lender has overhauled the way it works and advertises, and remains one of the largest short-term lenders in the UK.

'Vital'

Archbishop Justin Welby created a taskforce, led by former regulator Sir Hector Sants, to promote responsible credit and savings which, after two years of work, has now published its final report.

"Although there are many other influences beside the Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury's intervention has undoubtedly helped to galvanise broader awareness of, and support for, credit unions from churches and wider society and contributed to a sea change in public and political opinion around payday lending," the report said.

Since 2013 the membership of credit unions had grown by 13%, with 123,000 new members in Britain.

The taskforce's report highlighted work to create a credit union for Church staff, financial advice in churches, and savings clubs in schools.

Caroline Rookes, chief executive of the Money Advice Service, said: "Managing day-to-day finances and improving financial education has never been so vital.

"The introduction of savings clubs in schools is a great way to encourage our children to talk and learn about money from a young age."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites