THE boss of Bournemouth’s subprime lender Amigo has said the leadership is “working hard” to save the company and its jobs after a “dreadful” annual loss of £283.6million.

Amigo has cut staff numbers from 300 to 220 by reducing its complaints team as it works on a scheme to limit compensation in mis-selling cases.

Its scheme was rejected by the High Court after an objection from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Chief executive Gary Jennison told the Daily Echo: “We’ve had to let a number of people go earlier this year. We’ve downsized the people handling complaints pending what’s going on at the moment.

“It’s very difficult. We’re doing our best to engage with our team and we’ve done video calls with them to try and give them the honest facts.”

He added: "It’s a very complicated situation. We’ve got bond holders very close to taking control of the business if we default. We’ve got shareholders very anxious, we’ve got the press.

“It’s quite difficult being a member of staff in your day-to-day job.

“There’s a very real risk of insolvency, as the results have shown, with the scale of the losses that we’ve made.

“People can see the company is in a very parlous situation which is exactly why we need the courts to approve the scheme next time.”

Amigo said it had been forced to set aside £344.6m for complaints, compared with £126.8m the previous year. This move, along with a drastic drop in revenue as the firm curbed lending, led to a pre-tax loss of £283.6m compared with £37.9m in 2020.

In a video message, Mr Jennison: “The full year results are extremely disappointing. Virtually every number you look at is very poor. We’ve been a significant fall-off in customer numbers, a significant fall-off in the loan book outstanding and the losses are dreadful – but the losses are all due to the complaints provision.”

But he said Amigo had a “valuable role to play in society”, with millions of people unable to get loans from mainstream banks.

“We provide valuable roles for things like people who have a broken down car and a broken boiler, they need a new washing machine. It’s not often the fancy things like going on fancy holidays and having expensive new things, it’s the day to day requirements of having your own household,” he said.

He said he was excited about the possibility of a “customer-centric” future for the business which he dubbed “Amigo 2.0”. This could lend money without a guarantor and could offer the customer a reduction in interest rates if they paid on time. There could an annual payment holiday of one month.

“I’m really excited that Amigo 2.0 when it can come back to the market will deliver a truly fantastic customer-centric proposition and help these people repair their credit ratings and get their financial lives back on track,” he added.

He was hopeful Amigo could win approval from regulators for a new proposal to limit mis-selling compensation.

“I’m optimistic simply because it delivers the best value for customers,” he told the Echo.