Can ‘Wonga: the movie’ make us love the payday lender?
The controversial payday lender Wonga has come under fire ahead of a new film that the company hopes will contradict claims that it exploits vulnerable consumers. Directed by the Bafta-nominated Gary Tarn, 12 Portraits will debut on Monday at a glitzy premier in Soho.
It is billed as a “modern, authentic and relevant portrait of British life” and will tell the “real stories” behind why people borrow money from Wonga. The launch comes less than 24 hours before bosses from some of Britain’s largest payday lending companies appear before MPs as calls grow for tighter regulation of the sector.
Payday lenders have been criticised for their huge interest rates and their advertisements, which in some cases appear to make light of the harmful effects of their products. Following its release, 12 Portraits is expected to be distributed via social media.
Business minister Jo Swinson was among those over the weekend to add her voice to the criticism of payday lenders. Ms Swinson is set to appear at the session on Tuesday, which will hear evidence from bosses of leading payday firms.
She said: “I’ve certainly been concerned about vulnerable customers being lured by adverts into taking out payday loans that aren’t right for them. While for some people in some circumstances payday loans can be a useful product, there are many others who are already in financial difficulty.”
She added: “These lenders have far bigger advertising budgets than debt charities or government money advice could ever hope to have.”
More than one million people plan to take out a payday loan to cover the cost of Christmas, according to the Government-backed Money Advice Service.
Serai Hann from Swansea took a £100 loan to buy Christmas presents and found herself hit with a £600 bill. “The film will depict 12 cases of people that have taken out loans and are able to pay them each week,” she said. “But for each of those there are thousands and thousands that are signing-themselves up for deeper and more destructive debt.”
Steve Doran, who got into trouble with debt after taking out a Wonga loan in March 2011, said: “Ultimately, these are often very desperate people making decisions under very tight circumstances.”
Even after paying off her debts, she says she is still hounded by advertising. “Even now I am getting hit with offers to win an Xbox or enter raffles.”
12 Portraits is being released as the Financial Conduct Authority finalises plans to be introduced next year that would force lenders to place “risk warnings” on advertising. The rules will allow payday lenders only to roll over a loan twice, while just two unsuccessful attempts to claw money back out of an account will be permitted.
Wonga says around 85 per cent of its loans are repaid on time and less than 10 per cent of loans are extended. Niall Wass, the company’s chief operating officer, said: “We have a few loud critics and while the scrutiny of mistakes we make is absolutely appropriate, the voice of people who actually use and value our services – the silent majority – are usually missing from the picture.”
Bargain Hunter: Now's your chance to watch the best movies free of charge at home
The FTSE 100 is inching closer to its record high but can it maintain these levels?
MPs call for Equitable Life policyholders to be paid £2.8bn owed by government
You'll need £220,000 for a minimum wage in your retirement
Fuel poverty could claim 100,000 lives over next 15 years, warns energy charity
- 1 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 2 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamaphobia
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
iJobs Money & Business
£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity to join this new...
£18000 - £21000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£36000 - £44000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Encouraging more businesses to ...
Day In a Page
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley