Wonga has hired the former director of a debt charity that has campaigned vigorously against the excesses of payday lenders to run its public affairs.
Delroy Corinaldi left StepChange as director of external affairs just seven months ago and has now joined the payday lender as head of public affairs, UK and international.
He spent four years at the charity and is also a founder of the Financial Inclusion Centre and has worked for Which?, Energy Watch and consultancy, Fipra.
When he left, Corinaldi insisted he will “always be passionate about the importance of achieving a society free from problem debt”.
In 2012 StepChange, formerly the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, branded Wonga “cynical” over a marketing campaign to entice students into short-term loans.
StepChange chairman and Labour peer Lord Stevenson helped push through tough regulation of the sector in the Financial Services Act 2012. The FCA will regulate payday lenders from April with the possibility of imposing an interest rate cap.
A Wonga spokesman says: “At this key time for our business, which under a new chief executive officer is preparing for the transfer of consumer credit to the FCA, we are keen to ensure that the voice of our customers is made clear while engaging proactively with the wider community.
“Delroy’s extensive knowledge of personal finance and debt issues together with his passion for the consumer will be invaluable. Delroy will head up a team of three and report into Henry Raine, our head of UK regulatory.”
StepChange declined to comment on Corinaldi’s appointment but a spokesman says: ”We continue to see numerous problems associated with the payday loan industry. Our latest figures showed an 82 per cent increase in the number of people seeking our help with payday loan debts between 2012 and 2013.
“There is still widespread irresponsible lending, we continue to see debts inflated through the application of rollovers and charges and we still see numerous people with multiple payday loans.
“We remain hopeful that the FCA will address a number of these problems, but until we see substantial improvements in the market we will continue to highlight these problems and press for reform.”
Payday lenders have come under fierce and repeated attack from all political parties and the FCA for their sky-high interest rates and debt collection practices.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has also slammed the firm by claiming he wants to compete the firm “out of existence”.