UK
03/10/2013 05:29 BST | Updated 03/10/2013 08:25 BST

Payday Loans Boss Says 'Our Customers Love Us' As Wonga And Co Face New Curbs

The man representing the payday loans industry has boasted: Our customers love us.

Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of trade body the Consumer Finance Association, made the bold claim as new curbs on the high-interest lenders were announced.

The new measures include stark warnings on all adverts, but stop short of capping the hefty interest rates charged by Wonga and co.

Asked on the BBC's Today programme whether people would ever learn to love the companies, Hamblin-Boone said: "Unfortunately I don't think we will every be in a position where everyone loves what we do - except our customers, of course."

Customer service surveys are always "very high" he claimed, adding: "Satisfaction levels of customers would be the envy of lots of parts of the financial services market."

But the show's next guest called that into question by pointing to a Citizen's Advice survey that found more than 75% of borrowers that asked for its advice had cause to complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Campaigning Labour MP Stella Creasy, who has called for a cap on interest rates, said: "The Office of Fair Trading was so worried about your behaviour that it referred the entire industry to the Competition Commission."

It comes after it was revealed that four out of five borrowers were using the cash to pay for essentials like food.

"People aren't borrowing for luxuries", Creasy said.

She said the reforms announced by the Financial Conduct Authority did not go far enough, saying the industry had been "let off".

Under the new regime, payday companies will have carry out affordability checks and will only be able to roll over loans twice.

Information on where to get free help with debts must be given to every borrower who rolls over a loan and "clear risk warnings" must be displayed on all adverts and promotions along with details of debt advice.

Martin Wheatley, the FCA's chief executive, said the measures would mean customers could no longer grab a loan in just 10 minutes, and warned firms that "the clock is ticking".