Church Welcomes ‘Sea Change’ in Attitudes Towards Payday Lending

February 10, 2016

Attitudes among British consumers towards payday lenders and their services have undergone a “sea change” in recent years, according to a new report from the Church of England.

The church has been among the most outspoken critics of payday lenders and has welcomed trends that point towards a growing shift away from their use around the UK.

In fact, the church has suggested that its high-profile condemnation of payday lenders has helped to persuade many people around the country not to use them and to find alternative ways of borrowing money or managing their finances.

In 2013, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England’s leader, spoke out against payday lending and said the church would be aiming to send lenders like Wonga out of business by supporting community-based finance initiatives.

Not long after the archbishop’s pronouncements it emerged that the Church of England had indirectly invested in Wonga but it was announced in 2014 that all ties between the two organisations had been cut.

Around this time the church created a taskforce to investigate trends in short-term lending and to look into how it might help to reduce reliance on payday lending and support the development of a “larger and stronger community finance sector”.

The taskforce found that there has been a 13 per cent increase in membership of credit unions since July 2013 and a 68 per cent decline in payday lending activity since the industry’s peak at the same time.

“Tighter regulation of payday lenders, including a cap on the cost of credit and controls on the number of rollovers has tackled some of the worst excesses of the industry,” the Church of England Task Group said in its report on the subject.

Reflecting on the church’s role in the reduction in use of payday lenders in recent years, its taskforce’s report said: “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 about payday lending.”

If you are struggling to manage your debts in relation payday loans or any other form of borrowing then Scotland Debt Solutions can help. Call us directly to arrange a free consultation.

John Baird

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