Wonga boss: 'This isn't about people on breadlines'

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This is not about people on breadlines being desperate.

– Wonga boss Errol Damelin

The boss of the controversial online lender, Wonga, Errol Damelin, has been defending the work of the company that has come under attack in recent months, including from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The company, which unveiled its results publicly for the first time this morning, appears certainly to be in rude health.

They lent more than a billion pounds for the first time; they lent to more than a million customers; they made more than 4 million loans and they paid more than £21 million in corporation tax. Profits are up more than a third to 62 million pounds.

Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend Justin Welby. Credit: Press Association

But Damelin is adamant that the company, which he says is "growing up in public" surrounded by controversy over its annual APR rates which are over 4,000 percent, is not the worst end of the lending market.

This is not about people on breadlines being desperate...this is about us serving customers who want to take a loan and know they can pay it back in 3 days - that is in the same way that they want to buy one song on iTunes.

– Wonga boss Errol Damelin

He also told me that Wonga has been trying to think of ways to help the Church of England develop its own credit business. The Archbishop said he wanted to compete Wonga out of business, Damelin says he has offered the Church help to provide services to people who struggle to get credit.

Damelin points out that Wonga turns down two thirds of people who apply for loans and while he believes there is a market in providing credit to those who can't get it elsewhere, Wonga, he insists, is not the business to provide it. They are not going after people who really can't afford to pay he says. That's not a message who will persuade all their critics but one Damelin will stand by. He believes Wonga is a "good corporate citizen" and a business that is here to stay.