THE new boss of Bournemouth’s major subprime lender has pledged to “make Amigo great again”.

Chief executive Garry Jennison said a “significant number” of its backlog of complaints are “not genuine claims”.

He acknowledged to Amigo investors that many of them “will have lost a lot of money” by investing in the company.

A public letter to shareholders said: “I have successfully turned around three financial services businesses in my career, and I am determined to make this number four.

“My job is to lead the turnaround, but I can’t do it on my own. Amigo is full of good people at all levels and we are working hard to fix the complaints, fix the relationship with the regulator, and get Amigo lending again.

“Our customers need us and by Amigo currently not lending more widely, they are the ones that are missing out.

“I know that the dynamic of our shareholder register has changed enormously since our IPO (initial public offering) in 2018 and we recognise that many of you will have lost a lot of money from being a shareholder in Amigo. My job is to make sure that we engage with all types of shareholders, whatever your size of holding.”

Amigo's choice of chief executive withdraws

Mr Jennison was only chosen last month as Amigo’s chief executive, after previous choice Glen Crawford withdrew his name following a disagreement with the board.

The board has been through a battle with founder James Benamor, who staged an unsuccessful bid to return as the business’s chief executive.

Amigo made a pre-tax loss of £37.9million in the past financial year after a rise in complaints and a probe by regulators.

Amigo reports annual loss as complaints rise

Mr Jennison said he had “seen a lot of evidence that we do things properly”.

He said: “There are undoubtedly cases where we have done the wrong thing, but a significant number of the claims that we are getting are not genuine claims.”

He added: “The origin of Amigo is about one man not being able to borrow money. Our customers are typically people who have not been able to borrow money themselves because of a blemish on their credit history or they just don’t have a credit history. Amigo serves a clear, vital purpose for these customers.

“It allows them to buy a second hand car to get to work, it provides the deposit to rent a home, it allows them to consolidate expensive debts into a much cheaper facility and it gets people on the credit ladder. There is no doubt that this section of the UK population, which equates to millions of people, is very badly served by the mainstream banks and is misunderstood. We can help these people and I am looking forward to working with the team and with the regulator to make sure that we continue to do so.

“The ability of Amigo to help our current and future customers could genuinely change their lives and set them on a path to financial inclusion. This is our purpose and working together we can make Amigo great again.”

Amigo also announced the appointment of Maria Darby-Walker as a non-executive director, with current non-executive director Richard Price to stand down.

Ms Darby-Walker has more than 30 years of experience advising boards on marketing, brand and corporate reputation, will also chair Amigo’s remuneration committee. She is a board governor at the University of Central Lancashire, an ambassador for Women On Boards and was voted one of Cranfield University’s 100 Women to Watch for FTSE board positions.