Camden Town, home of the 4,000% loans

LABOUR councillors in Camden (and other parts of London) have been saying the right things about pay-day loan companies and the huge interest they set. It doesn’t take too much care to wonder whether more local credit unions would be a kinder way to help people struggling to get the bills paid.

Truth is, you can’t actually do much in London without seeing some sort of promotion for Wonga, ‘the king of the 4,000% loans’, as the Sunday Times called the company earlier this year. There are ads on the sides of buses and on the tube.  Turn on the television and you will see more ads with the Wonga puppets (lovely, friendly pensioners known as Wongies just there to offer a little help…you see). And now Newcastle United will bear the company’s name on their shirt in a sponsorship deal. That’s too much for council leader Sarah Hayward.

Aren’t council leaders supposed to champion businesses on their patch? She could take up her frustration with the company when it comes into pay its business rates at the Town Hall. It’s not always immediately obvious but the Wonga offices – presumably where the Wongies hang out – is two joined together Regency homes in Prince Albert Road, Camden Town.

The company’s founder Errol Damelin told the Sunday Times: “Just go sit in our customer services and listen to people saying thank you for helping them pay the vet’s bill.”

Would Sarah be interested in such an invitation?

9 Comments on Camden Town, home of the 4,000% loans

  1. Chris Knight // October 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm //

    I think Sarah might just drag the Wonger Directors along to the vet for some testicular changes! (not sure how you cut the nuts off Sharks but in this case it might be worth an enquirie or two)

  2. Sarah Hayward // October 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm //

    You could’ve called me for a quote!

    I am very supportive of businesses based in Camden. But that doesn’t mean I can’t speak out, and in some cases absolutely should speak out, against activities that I think aren’t conducive to the well-being of Camden’s residents and workforce.

    And charging 4000% interest rates simply isn’t conducive to that well-being.

    Pay-day loan companies overwhelmingly target their loans at people with lower than average disposable income and drastically reduced options for credit. Neither me or you Richard, would need to use a pay day loan company to cover a vets bill or buy a new washing machine because banks, stores and credit card companies will give us credit.

    The fact is, that people shouldn’t feel they have to use a pay day loan company to cover an essential vets bill for their pet but all too many people do. Particularly in central London areas like Camden where the cost of normal, everyday living expenses is so high.

    While Wonga, and Britehouse and all the others continue to target those least well off for their profits I will keep speaking out about them. This type of credit is capped and strictly controlled in many other countries. It should be here too.

    Meanwhile, I’m more than happy to sit in on customer services – I’m sure I’d find it instructive. Not least because it would give me even more case studies to use of how Wonga target their products at people needing to cover everyday costs. But Wonga have made no such offer to me.

    • Richard Osley // October 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm //

      Thanks Sarah, as you can see the piece begins with ‘Labour councillors saying the right things’, so it’s not a critical article. Your tweet just interested me and people always seem to be surprised that Wonga is in the middle of our patch.

  3. Chris Knight // October 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm //

    Sarah how interesting, when in the Lido do try to stay clear of the claspers of the lesse spotted wobbegong!

    I also note that the neutered one DK has pooped up again.

    • Das Kapital // October 17, 2012 at 10:18 am //

      Cllr Chris Knight’s little book of quotes, but fortunately only available in not too good bookshops!

      For the more erudite readers of this blog who just can’t wait to get their hands on this little literary gem, here’s a bit of a taster:

      “Oh dear did I touch a nerve”

      “If your Aunty had testicles she would be you uncle”

      “I also note that the neutered one DK has pooped up again”

      “That reminds you should grow some balls and dump your rose tinted glasses”

      Quite honestly Chris, with all this testosterone flying about, I’m starting to wonder whether you’ve just spent too much time on the 214 bus route!!!!!

      One thing’s for sure, standards are definately slipping down at the old Town Hall!


      • Chris Knight // October 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm //

        Daz, I think you missed one “armchair snipers” thats my favourite.

        Turning the 214: my testosterone levels are in no way conneted to the 214 but simply due to the fact that I am a red meat eating hetrosexual alpha male! and that seems perfectly reasonable to me!

        • Das Kapital // October 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm //

          ‘He’s the man every man aspires to be: the captain of industry, a star of the big screen, at the helm of the ship, the leader of the pack. Men want to be with him, women want to be with him’.

          We’re not talking about Brad Pitt, Nick Candy or even Hugh Heffner, but none other than Hampstead Town’s own self confessed “Alpha Male”, Cllr Chris Knight!

          In honesty, I think this is one time when folks need to be left to make up their own minds?

          I rest my case!


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