Saturday 17 August 2019

Sub-prime lender eyes 'cautious Irish growth'

UK sub-prime lender Amigo is aiming for 'cautious growth' in Ireland
UK sub-prime lender Amigo is aiming for 'cautious growth' in Ireland
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

UK sub-prime lender Amigo is aiming for "cautious growth" in Ireland after granting its first loan here in February.

It said it plans to build a sufficient book of loans during its initial launch stage to "obtain meaningful data to enhance our proprietary scorecards".

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The controversial lender entered the Irish market here to use it as a testbed for possible geographic expansion. The Irish Independent revealed in 2017 that Amigo was planning to enter the market in Ireland.

Releasing full-year results yesterday, Amigo did not reveal how much it has loaned so far in Ireland.

The stock market-listed lender provides loans to borrowers who typically cannot borrow from mainstream lenders. It charges interest of 49.9pc here and requires a guarantor for loans - often a family member or friend who's liable for the loan if the borrower can't pay.

An Amigo loan of €2,500 repayable over 36 months will cost a borrower almost €1,900 in interest. A similar personal loan with an 8.5pc variable rate at Bank of Ireland would attract just €441 in interest.

Amigo said the launch in Ireland is the "first step in testing the transferability of the 'Amigo in a Box' concept in a new geographic sector".

"The 'Amigo in a box' system has been built to be fully customisable for the different legal and regulatory regimes of other jurisdictions we may choose to target," it added.

The company said that trialling the system in Ireland had prompted it to seek further scalable growth opportunities outside the UK. Amigo said its core focus will continue to be its home market. "We remain confident of the growth opportunity for the guarantor product within the UK," it said.

Amigo made an £88.6m (€100.3m) profit in its last financial year, up 75pc. Its impairment-to-revenue ratio was 23.7pc at the end of March.

Irish Independent

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