Wonga Movie
The movie, “12 Portraits”, premiered on 4 November in the UK capital, London. The release followed the next day. Created with the objective of showing a sliver of modern British society, the movie features a look into the lives of individuals who have borrowed money from the digital finance company, Wonga.

The Idea behind the Movie
According to the director, Gary Tarn, “12 Portraits” explores the passions of 12 individuals with one thing in common: they are all Wonga customers. Apart from a credit at the end, the movie does not mention the company directly. Instead, it features the private lives of real people with no acting involved. They speak about their hobbies, work, family and other things that bring meaning to their lives. Viewers can discover the connection with the digital finance company when visiting openwonga.com. Throughout the production of “12 Portraits,” Tarn retained complete creative freedom and the company only received a copy of the movie once it was completed. He commented that the 30 minute long movie is quite profound.

Starring Real People 
The varied cast includes people that needed financial help for things like emergencies, educational supplements and small business cash flow. Deborah, a single mum, wanted to set up a franchise that offers haircuts to children in nursery schools and Lee, who runs his own cleaning firm, needed to cover travel costs to an important meeting that brought him a new contract. The stars of “12 Portraits” are all ordinary people living ordinary lives.
The movie can be watched online at openwonga.com where brief biographies of the customers are also available for perusal. Additionally, it will be screened in over 500 cinemas and partially televised on two television channels in the UK: Film 4 and Channel 4.

Wonga Stories
The respected and well-known British filmmaker, Gary Tarn, is spending his time behind the scenes at Wonga, the short-term lending company. He is in the process of making a film about British society today through the lens of the digital finance company's customers. His aim is to film an accurate representation of Wonga’s customers. As much as Wonga is in the news, the story of many of its borrowers - the 'silent majority' - has not yet been told. The twelve customers who stories will be told have volunteered to participate in the documentary. 

Tarn Tells Their Tale

Tarn is probably best known for his award winning film Black Sun, which is a documentary of the blind author named Hugues de Montalembert. People also remember him for The Prophet, which Thandie Newton, a UK actress, narrated. In this new documentary, 12 Portraits, Tarn gets into the lives of twelve Wonga customers to share and bring to the light a few of their experiences. The volunteer customers are not being remunerated and there is no script for them to read as they tell their tale. He will lead the viewer into their lives as they share why they took a short-term loan from Wonga and how it impacted them. Tarn, who has full creative control over the entire direction of the film, sees this is an important project that will accurately reflect modern Britain. He began filming 12 Portraits in July of this year and expects to finish by December.

Hearing the Silent Majority

In commenting on the film, Niall Wass, who serves as COO of Wonga, said that everyone hears the loud voices of the critics, but the majority of their clients, who are silent, should be heard as well. In fact, 90% of those on their million plus customer list would be willing to recommend the short term loan company to their families and friends.

In an industry that is not noted for its transparency, Errol Damelin, CEO and co-founder, was quick to explain how Wonga operates, following the release of its first annual report and accounts for 2012.

Despite being a private company, Damelin made it clear that Wonga operates like a public company. He provided a detailed explanation into how Wonga makes its money and how it acts as a “good corporate citizen.”

By communicating its strategy and profitability, Wonga is living up to its values of openness and transparency.

Daily Telegraph 03 Sep 2013.

n a list compiled by the Sunday Times, Wonga has once again been named as one Britain’s leading technology companies. This is the third successive year Wonga has featured in the Tech Track 100 list. First published in 2001, Tech Track 100 provides information on the top performing British private companies working in technology, telecoms and digital media. In 2011 Wonga was ranked as the number 1 tech company in Britain. In 2012, it finished 3rd, which was the first time that a company featured in the top three, two years running. In 2013, the online money lender features in the list at number sixteen impressively remaining within the top 20 for three years in a row.
Wonga Tech Track 100
jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Following the first public release of Wonga’s annual accounts, CEO Errol Damelin explained that the company’s almost 1 million customers represented only a third of those who actually applied for short term loans. As a responsible lender, Wonga only lends to people who can afford to borrow and therefore turns down many first time loan applicants. Most of Wonga’s customers, whom Damelin dubbed the “Facebook generation,” use Wonga to provide a short term fix, rather than having to pay unauthorised overdraft charges. 

Damelin explained that Wonga serves customers who want to take out a loan and know that they can repay it in three days, in just the same way they want to buy an item on iTunes.

Wonga’s annual accounts for 2012 showed that company lending increased by 68 percent, with the number of UK loans reaching nearly 4 million.

James Quinn, Financial Editor of the Daily Telegraph, 03 Sep 2013
Facebook Generation
Image courtesy of Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Healy O'Donnell School of Irish Dancing
Wish Sport is a campaign set up by the Newcastle Chronicle and Wonga that hopes to give something back to local sports and community clubs in the Tyneside region. Up for grabs is the chance to take home a slice of £30,000. The money can then be put towards a variety of things including buying new kit, refurbishing a clubhouse or improving sports facilities. The campaign is part of an ongoing commitment from Wonga to invest in grassroots sports in the area. One local Irish dancing school is calling on readers of the Chronicle to help them win some of the cash prize by collecting tokens on their behalf. 

Errol Damelin
Wonga CEO Errol Damelin has called for better regulation of the consumer lending sector and of the wider financial services industry within the United Kingdom. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is currently responsible for regulating the industry. However, from 2014, responsibility for consumer lending companies will move to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a change Errol Damelin welcomes.

Tougher regulation will mean that the industry can move forward and enable Wonga and other likeminded companies to continue innovating the world of digital finance.


Dawn Capital has announced it has raised in excess of GBP63 million during the first close of its Capital II fund. Those contributing to the fund include the Future Technologies Fund in the UK and the European Investment Fund. Dawn Capital, whose existing portfolio includes Wonga.com and Mimecast, will use the fund for investment in new technology ventures in both Europe and Great Britain The recent first close was successful in a large part because of the firm's portfolio and the success of companies such as Wonga, which was founded by Errol Damelin in 2007 and that has gone on to become one of the world’s most innovative providers of short term financial solutions. 
The iconic gates which used to greet Newcastle fans as they made their way to St James’ Park are to be returned to the club after being found on farmland belonging to life president Sir John Hall. 
Members of the NUFC Fans United group had been eager to see the gates return to their rightful home for some time. After several meetings with club officials, new sponsors Wonga and the Magpie Group, which is owned by Sir John Hall, an agreement has been reached by all parties for work to begin restoring the gates. 
Wonga has provided the necessary funding required to dig up the wrought iron gates from Sir John’s Northumberland farmland. Wonga will also make a financial contribution towards the construction of a specially designed frame which will assist engineers in transporting the gates to a dedicated workshop where the restoration process can begin. Once completed, it is anticipated that the new gates will be installed at the stadium prior to the start of the 2013/2014 Premier League campaign.
Wonga PayLater
The new service offered by Wonga is a "buy now and pay later" option that directly challenges the usual credit card offerings on retailers' websites. The PayLater service is now being offered directly through retail websites and gives the purchaser a new payment choice. Through Wonga, the buyer pays an initial upfront fee of seven percent, followed by the purchase price divided into three separate payments. The popular service is expected to be available on additional retail sites soon.