The payday-loan industry was at its peak in 2013 when the Archbishop of Canterbury took on industry giants such as Wonga, which has charged an annual interest rate of up to 5,853 percent.
Three years on, Archbishop Justin Welby stands vindicated. CFO Lending was fined £34 million (U.S. $44 million) on Sept. 19 by the industry regulator for bad lending practices. It was one of a series of fines levied on payday lenders.
Between 10 and 12 million payday loans worth nearly £4 billion (U.S. $5.17 billion) were contracted in the years 2012-13. Now industry rates are capped and the number of loans has decreased to 1.8 million.
Carl Packman of the charity Toynbee Hall says that although fines have been steep, they have not eliminated many payday lenders.
“It’s not really the case of the rise and fall of the payday lenders. It’s the rise, a hiccup, and probably another rise to come,” he told The Guardian. “They are shifting to slightly longer two- or three-month loans, which are still extortionately priced. The fact they have been able to pay these fines shows they are not just scraping by.”