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Archbishop takes on payday lenders

July 25, 2013

LONDON (AP) — The archbishop of Canterbury says he’s ready to compete with payday lenders in hopes of putting them out of business.

Archbishop Justin Welby told Britain’s Total Politics magazine that the Church of England will develop plans to help credit unions — member-owned financial co-operatives — expand as an alternative to the lenders, which offer small short-term loans at sky-high rates.

Welby says he met the head of Wonga, a payday lender which has an annual interest rate of 5,853 percent according to its website. The bishop told him that the church is ready “to compete you out of existence.”

“He’s a businessman; he took that well,” Welby was quoted as saying in the publication Thursday.

Welby says there are also plans to encourage church members to volunteer at credit unions.

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