By Daniel Hunter

Payday loan company Wonga could be forced out of business by the Church of England, following a warning from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Most Rev Justin Welby told Wonga boss Errol Damelin the Church planned to put the payday lender out of business by expanding credit unions as an alternative to payday lenders.

In reply Mr Damelin told the Church that he was in favour of 'better consumer choice'.

Archbishop Welby, a former financier who sits on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, has previously lobbied for a cap on high interest rates charged by loan companies.

He said the Church could do more to help non-profit lenders to compete with payday firms.

"I've met the head of Wonga, and we had a very good conversation," the archbishop told Total Politics magazine.

"I said to him quite bluntly that 'we're not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence; we're trying to compete you out of existence'."

He said of Mr Damelin's response: "He's a businessman; he took that well."

Mr Damelin later said: "There is mutual respect, some differing opinions and a meeting of minds on many big issues.

"On the competition point, we always welcome fresh approaches that give people a fuller set of alternatives to solve their financial challenges. I'm all for better consumer choice."

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