Church of England to help credit unions to provide affordable loans & compete with payday lenders

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4 August 2013

Church’s Wonga debacle shows need for portfolio scrutiny (UK)

Author: Ruth Sullivan, Financial Times

The archbishop of Canterbury’s...condemnation of payday lending followed by news that the Church of England is indirectly invested in Wonga, a high-interest lender, is another wake-up call for institutional investors to know exactly what their portfolios hold...The revelation is especially difficult for a church endowment fund priding itself on a strong ethical investment policy. For...[the] leader of the world’s Anglican community, it takes the shine off his plan to encourage credit unions to be set up in churches across the UK and put payday lenders out of business...The Church of England £5.2bn investment fund, which explicitly bans companies involved in payday lending, invests in Accel Partners, the US venture capital firm that led Wonga’s fundraising in 2009...Strong governance reporting coupled with robust responsible investment analysis would help institutional investors to avoid the reputational harm the Church of England has...experienced...[refers to Calstrs, Textron, PGGM, Walmart, Camradata]

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30 July 2013

Church of England to take on payday lenders

Author: Hannah Kuchler & George Parker, Financial Times

Britain’s booming payday lenders...have met a new adversary in the form of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has promised to allow rival credit unions to set up on church property...[A]former finance executive in the oil industry...leader of the world’s Anglican community, intends to combine his sense of moral indignation with his business experience by putting the church in the frontline of providing affordable loans to the poor...[He] has now laid out plans to help 500 financial co-operatives, which already provide small loans, to expand their reach by using the Church’s 16,000 premises. He said he was embarking on a “decade-long process” to make credit unions both more engaged in their communities and “much more professional”. [refers to Wonga]

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