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Archbishop embarrassed by Church Wonga investment

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted he is embarrassed by the revelations that the Church of England pension funds indirectly funded in online lender Wonga.

Asked by John Humphrys on BBC Radio 4 Today's programme whether he was embarrassed, he replied "yes."

Asked to place his embarrassment on a scale of one to 10, he said: "Eight."

The Church responds to news its linked to Wonga

After a national newspaper revealed the Church of England has links to pay-day lender Wonga, Lambeth Palace has responded. This follows the Archbishop of Canterbury's promise to take on pay-day lenders like Wonga.

"We are grateful to the Financial Times for pointing out this serious inconsistency of which we were unaware.

"We will be asking the Assets Committee of the Church Commissioners to investigate how this has occurred and to review the holding in this pooled investment vehicle."

"We will also be requesting the Church Commissions to investigate whether there are any other inconsistencies as normally all investment policies are reviewed by the Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG)."

– Lambeth Palace

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Archbishop 'furious' over Wonga investment

The Archbishop of Canterbury is reported to "furious" by the BBC after it was revealed that the Church of England pension fund invests in one of Wonga’s key financial backers.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is said to be "furious" when the revelations were made.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is said to be "furious" when the revelations were made. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

The Most Reverend Justin Welby yesterday launched an attack on the payday loan company saying he wants to "compete it out of existence" by supporting credit unions.

The Church has now launched an investigation into how it has come to invest in the company.

Read more: Church of England 'indirectly invests in Wonga'

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Church of England 'indirectly invests in Wonga'

The Church of England’s pension fund has admitted it invests in one of Wonga’s key financial backers, the Financial Times (£) reported.

The fund invests in Accel Partners, a US venture capital firm that led the fundraising for Wonga in 2009, the report states.

An image of Wonga's website.
The Archbishop of Canterbury told Wonga the Church of England wants to 'compete it out of existence;. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A Lambeth Palace spokesperson said: “We will be asking the Assets Committee of the Church Commissioners to investigate how this has occurred and to review the holding in this pooled investment vehicle.”

Read: Church to take on payday firms

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Newcastle striker reverses refusal to wear Wonga logo

Papiss Cisse pictured wearing last season's Newcastle short which was sponsored by Virgin Money. Credit: PA

Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has agreed to wear the logo of sponsor Wonga on his shirt.

The 28-year-old Muslim had refused to display the pay-day loan company's branding on his kit because earning interest is forbidden by Islamic Law.

However, after several weeks of delicate negotiations, the Senegal international and the club have now found a solution and the player, who missed the club's pre-season training camp in Portugal as a result of his stance, will return to the fold.

Church say Durham influenced Archbishop's lending battle

The Church of England's Head of Mission and Public Affairs says the time the Archbishop of Canterbury spent in cities including Durham has influenced his decision to tackle pay-day loans companies.

Rev Dr Malcolm Brown said: "This is a man who has worked in a lot of major cities in the country - Coventry, Liverpool, Durham.

"He wasn't in Durham very long but he found out a great deal about it and that's been a major factor in the way he's approached the whole question of finance, banking and the way people work with money."

Wonga respond to Archbishop announcement

Wonga has responded to the Archbishop of Canterbury's claims that the Church of England plans to go head-to-head with pay-day lenders.

Errol Damelin, founder and Chief Executive of Wonga, said:

"The Archbishop is an exceptional individual, with our discussions ranging from the future of banking and financial services to the emerging digital society. On his ideas for competing with us, Wonga welcomes competition from any quarter that gives the consumer greater choice in effectively managing their financial affairs”

– Errol Damelin, founder and Chief Executive of Wonga
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