Wonga has secured full authorisation from the City’s watchdog, as the payday lender looks to rebuild its damaged brand.
The licence from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) comes just in time for the lender: its interim permission to operate was running out in a matter of weeks.
Wonga, hoping to rebuild its much-maligned business, is now looking to move away from short-term loans, and the firm began trialling a 90-day loan at the end of last year, the firm’s first new move since it was forced to announce making a loss of over £37m in 2014.
Wonga has been struck hard over the past two years, by political and public outrage against its short-term loans and not least by by crackdowns on what UK regulators decried as punishing interest rates.
The Competitions and Markets Authority struck down on lending rates, and not long after the FCA forced it to write off debts for 330,000 customers.
Wonga’s chairman Andy Haste called the FCA decision a “milestone” in a statement today:
We have made progress against our commitment to deliver change and the FCA’s examination of the business has been rigorous and thorough.
The lender was voted the second-most improved brand of 2015 in a YouGov poll published last week.