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Student Loans Company chief offered to resign over 'fake' threatening letters to students

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The chairman of the Student Loans Company (SLC), Christian Brodie, has apologised to ministers and offered to resign over "fake" letters sent out by the agency in an attempt to recover debts from students it was revealed last week.

Student loansThese accusations emerged in the light of the accusations against the payday lender Wonga, who also has been accused of sending out threatening letters to its customers.

The OFT ceased to exist earlier this year, with its responsibilities passing to a number of different organisations including the Financial Conduct Authority.

The "clear and unequivocal" apology on behalf of the SLC came in a meeting with the business secretary, Vince Cable, last week, however Brodie's resignation was not accepted.

In a written statement, the universities minister, David Willetts, said the government believed Brodie had a "very important" job to do at the SLC and it would be unfair for him to take the blame for a practice that was nearly 10 years old. Brodie only took up his post at the company in February.

"We see Mr Brodie having a very important job to do at the SLC to oversee the significant investment the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is making in the company to enable it to transform its products and operations and overall levels of customer service. We are both clear that it would be unfair for Mr Brodie to take the blame for a practice that was nearly 10 years old, particularly as he had only been chairman since he joined in February of this year."

"It is important that the government recover taxpayers' money, but it must do so in a way which is fair," Willetts said.

"It must not use misleading tactics to get people to do the right thing. The SLC has apologised and now stopped issuing letters under the Smith Lawson trading name. I will be working with the company to ensure that lessons are learnt to ensure there is no repeat in future."

The future of the SLC is on teeter hooks and the actions of the top guys at SLC will be watched extremely carefully by the government in the next few months.

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