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Church of England considers Wonga investment

Collapsed high-cost short-term lender Wonga could be in line to receive a rescue bid from the Church of England.

Wonga went into administration in August, citing a surge in historical compensation claims against it which had earlier caused it to seek £10m of emergency funds from its investors.


Chris Laverty, Daniel Smith and Andrew Charters of Grant Thornton UK were appointed to conduct an orderly wind-down of Wonga.


Following its collapse, there were concerns raised in some quarters about the future of the company’s loan book and that the debts of thousands of borrowers could be passed to another high-interest firm.


Labour MP Frank Field is one of those concerned, and last week wrote to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to ask him to lead a consortium of "good people" to acquire the lender and its loan book.


“Money recovery agencies will no doubt attempt to buy these very cheaply and make a lot of money from them,” he wrote. “I’ve asked the administrators to remain open to a consortium of people of good will to buy the debts and deal properly with them in a way that protects poorer people.”


He added that buying Wonga’s £400m loan book would protect 200,000 borrowers from having to make repayments to another lender at high commercial rates.


The church said it would “reflect” on whether a bid might be feasible.


Church commissioners - who manage the Church of England’s £8.3bn investment fund - are expected to meet at Lambeth Palace next week to discuss the options.



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