Controversial payday lender Wonga granted nearly four million loans worth £1.2bn last year, matching the amount Nationwide granted in personal loans in 2012, it emerged today. This makes Wonga join the ranks of the UK’s top lenders.
The company also lent more than the entire equity release industry, which lent £925.7m in total last year.
The information came to light in media reports today and follows on from Wonga’s decision to release its financial reports earlier this week.
During 2012, Wonga earned profits after tax of £62.5m and made made more than £1m in profits per week.
Speaking to ITV, Wonga boss Errol Damelin said: “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 three days – that is in the same way that they want to buy one song on iTunes.”
MPs have warned that Wonga’s profits should get alarm bells ringing.
“What that says about families who are struggling financially, what it says about the kind of regulation we currently have in the UK and the things we need to do to make sure people in Britain can borrow affordably,” said Labour MP Stella Creasy.
“Wonga might be celebrating today [but] I am very, very concerned about what this might mean for people in my community and across the country who are paying the price for their profits.”
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