Amigo Holdings PLC Statement Ahead Of Panorama Broadcast
Speaking ahead of tonight’s BBC Panorama programme, Hamish Paton, Chief Executive Officer (designate) of Amigo Holdings PLC (“Amigo”), said:
“At this time, we do not know exactly what Panorama will be saying in their programme, although we have been notified by the BBC that it will focus on the consumer credit market and includes a reference to both guarantor loans and payday loans.
“A guarantor loan from Amigo is not a short term or high cost credit product, a point that we have made very clear to Panorama since they first approached us about the programme on 31 May 2019. We offer a product to customers that cannot get a loan from their bank, as they have a less than ideal credit score, which is often through no fault of their own. These ordinary, hardworking people need credit for certain moments in their life – it might be to purchase a second-hand car, undertake home improvements or to consolidate expensive debt. We give our 220,000 borrowers a mid-cost credit product that has a rate comparable to those charged by credit unions.
“We do not lend to customers that cannot afford our loans and undertake extensive affordability checks. Only 13% of the applications started with Amigo result in a loan being paid out to the guarantor, who then provides the money directly to the borrower. Where a borrower has difficulties making a payment, we will work with them to discuss payment options available. We never expect a customer to pay more than they can afford and living costs should always come before any repayment to Amigo.
“In those instances where a guarantor has to step in and make a payment one month, we will then collect future payments from the borrower unless we are aware that they cannot afford to make these. Over 90% of repayments are made by borrowers and Amigo has not seen an increase in guarantors making a payment over recent years.
“We have provided Panorama with extensive information about the two customer case studies that we understand will be included in the programme. This includes written and verbal evidence of recorded conversations with both the guarantor and borrower that show they were fully aware of their responsibilities and obligations when taking out an Amigo loan. It also shows how Amigo has been willing to work with both the guarantor and borrower to discuss payment options when their financial circumstances have changed.
“We strongly refute any suggestion that we harass our borrowers and guarantors. Quite simply, this is illegal and untrue. We will always cease communications with customers, if we are asked to do so, other than those communications we are legally obliged to send. Our approach is based on wanting customers to have the best possible experience with Amigo.”