Amigo is proposing a Scheme because it can’t afford to pay refunds to all the customers who were given unaffordable loans. It says it will go into administration if the Scheme is not approved.
Amigo says customers may get a cash refund of about 10% of their proper refund value. I think the amount may be lower.
Customers with a current loan, however, will be able to have the full amount of their refund deducted from their balance and their guarantor released in the Scheme if Amigo upholds their claim. And they can also get this if Amigo went into administration if the administrators uphold their claim.
About a million Amigo customers have been texted or emailed about the Scheme. This includes current customers – the borrowers and guarantors for the current 137,000 loans – and all previous customers whose loans have been repaid. If you haven’t received an email about this, check your spam folder!
The approval process for the Scheme
On 30 March, the First Court Hearing gave the go-ahead for Amigo to organise the creditor voting.
An online page to vote was set up and a creditors’ meeting held.
The FCA has published a letter saying:
The FCA considers that a fair compromise could have, but in this case has not been, proposed to Scheme Creditors to vote upon. Therefore… the FCA has decided that it intends to appear at the Sanction Hearing through counsel to oppose the sanction of the Scheme, even if approved by the requisite majority of Scheme Creditors, on the basis that the Court cannot be satisfied that the Scheme in its current form is fair.
From here the approval process is as follows:
- 19 May – Second Court Hearing
The second court hearing will consider whether the Scheme should go ahead and whether it is fair to customers.
- late-May – provisional start date for the Scheme.
An overview of the Scheme
If the Scheme starts, all open FOS cases will be sent back to the Scheme.
Under the Scheme, customers can put in a claim if they have affordability complaint or if they have any other complaint about a loan or the way Amigo treated them.
There will be a six month period for these claims to be sent in after the Scheme start date. After that time you will not be allowed to make a claim in the Scheme and will not be able to take a complaint to the Ombudsman either.
Amigo will decide whether to uphold each claim:
- The Explanatory Statement lists a lot of factors that will be taken into consideration in Schedule 4.
- Will Amigo uphold the same very high rate that the Financial Ombudsman (FOS) does? It has not said this.
- Amigo will appoint an independent person to look at any appeals – you can’t go to the Financial Ombudsman.
Amigo will then calculate the redress (the legal term for the refund you would have received if there wasn’t a Scheme) for the claims it upholds:
- for borrowers this is the interest they paid.
- it seems likely Amigo will be applying the “unpaid interest deduction” that it started making in summer 2020. This will reduce people’s refunds, see Amigo should end unpaid interest deductions and remove CCJs for details.
- guarantors the calculated refund will be a refund of everything they have paid.
- where a guarantor is being paid a refund, the guarantor payments are removed from the borrower’s account. If the borrower has also had a Claim upheld, interest will be removed from the borrower’s account. A borrower won’t be left worse off after this, but they may get little or no refund.
If you have a balance still owing to Amigo:
- your balance will be reduced by the refund;
- if you still owe a balance after this reduction, you can make an arrangement to repay it at a more affordable rate and your guarantor will be released;
- if the refund is larger than the balance this extra will be paid from the pot of cash Amigo is putting aside and you will only get a small percentage of it.
If you are owed a cash refund:
Customers whose loans have been repaid will have their cash refunds paid out of the pot of money Amigo is putting aside for this. But there won’t be nearly enough money to pay full refunds.
The pot will be divided up between all the people who are owed a cash refund who will all get the same “pence in the pound” percentage of their proper redress.
Amigo is putting in £15m, which could be increased by up to £20m if the balance reductions are lower than expected – this sounds unlikely to me. Amigo is proposing that it will add 15% of its profits in the next four years into this refund pot. As Amigo is currently loss-making this sounds like some jam in a few years, or possibly none at all.
Amigo says people may get paid 10% of their proper refund in the Scheme. On my figures, it could be even less, possibly as low as 5%.
Amigo expects the first payments to be made in the first half of 2022. It may be late in that period as Amigo has to allow time for any appeals to be made and reviewed.