James Benamor, the founder of highly criticized sub-prime lender Amigo Loans has enjoyed a very wealthy start to 2020. The self-confessed former petty criminal who was born Rachid James Benamor, the son of Tunisian immigrants, has banked for himself a £2.9m dividend payout despite being a difficult year a difficult year for Amigo Loans and James Benamor.
Having previously left the board, Benamor, who owns 61% of the company through his vehicle Richmond Group, made a spectacular comeback at the end of the year, returning to the board, and prompting Chief Hamish Paton, chairman Stephan Wilcke and pay committee chairperson Clare Salmon to depart from the troubled lender.
This is a year which saw the Amigo Loans share price more than half, profit warnings, a massive spike in customer complaints and heightened fears of a regulatory crackdown. Yet, despite all this, profits at his holding company inched higher to £70.8m in the year to the end of last March, from £66.9m the year before. The dividend payout was a result of those figures, although 2020 results will most likely tell a different story.
Customer complaints have soared throughout the last 12 months, with more and more disgruntled clients winning cases against Amigo Loans and receiving an Amigo Loans refund. By the end of November 2019, Amigo Loans there were 222,800 borrowers, up 34,000 from the same time last year. However, complaints about Amigo Loans more than doubled in the same period with the to the Financial Ombudsman Service ruling in favour for 59% of the complaints, forcing the Bournemouth based loans company to set aside £10.4m to cover refunds, compensation claims and customer payouts.
The company has also come under heavy criticism from members of parliament. Wes Streeting, a former member of the Treasury select committee and Labour MP for Ilford North, said: “I think it’s worrying that people are turning to short-term, high-interest lenders in greater numbers, but also that the number of complaints is rising. These complaints suggest the problem is not going away. It’s something that needs looking at urgently by the committee.” Meanwhile, Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow said: “These legal loan sharks are trapping people in debt and need to be cracked down on.”
As the complaints and regulatory headwinds around the sub-prime lender gather momentum, the £2.9m dividend payout enjoyed by Benamor may will be his last. Despite Amigo’s loan book standing at £730.7m in December, up 8.8 per cent on the year, approximately £54m of Amigo’s loans were at least 31 days overdue at the end of Q3 in 2019, up from £33m a year ago, which means further complications for the UK’s largest sub-prime lender. Watch this space.
Choosing a Reliable Roofing Contractor: 10 Questions to Ask
The durability and safeguarding of your home are heavily reliant on the state of your roof. Whether you’re confronted with repairs, a full replacement, or the installation of a new roof, the selection of the perfect roofing contractor holds paramount significance. Determining whether you’re selecting the best option among the abundance of choices available can be difficult. In order to help you with this crucial decision-making process, we have painstakingly put together a list of 10 crucial inquiries to ask potential roofing contractors.
1. Are You Licensed and Insured?
Verify the contractor’s eligibility to operate in your locality by scrutinizing their credentials, and be sure to demand evidence of insurance. The significance of this step lies in its role as a protective shield, guarding you against potential liability should any accidents or property damage transpire during the course of the project.
2. How Long Have You Been in Business?
Experience matters in the roofing industry. Contractors with a long history of successful projects are often more reliable and capable of handling various roofing issues.
3. Can You Provide References?
In the process of choosing a contractor, it is imperative to request references from their previous clients. A trustworthy contractor will not only furnish you with a roster of contented customers but will also supply their contact details, affording you the opportunity to reach out directly and delve into their firsthand experiences. This direct feedback will provide invaluable insights into the contractor’s performance, professionalism, and dependability, empowering you to make a well-informed decision.
4. What is Your Specialty?
Roofing contractors may specialize in specific types of roofing materials or projects. Make sure they have experience with the type of work you need, whether it’s asphalt shingles, metal roofing, or commercial roofing.
5. Do You Offer Written Estimates?
To foster clarity and preempt potential misunderstandings, it is strongly advised to refrain from solely relying on verbal estimates. Instead, it is prudent to seek a thorough, written estimate that encompasses all critical facets of the project. This written estimate should include a complete analysis of the necessary materials, an estimate of labor expenses, and a clearly defined schedule outlining the project’s key checkpoints and the anticipated completion date. By employing this tactic, you can provide the groundwork for good communication and guarantee that all stakeholders are aware of the needs and parameters of the project.
6. What Warranty Do You Offer?
Inquire about the warranties they offer for both materials and workmanship when choosing a contractor. An honest and reliable contractor will always stand behind their work and provide thorough warranties that shield you from any potential flaws or problems that might develop later. These guarantees not only give you peace of mind, but they also show how dedicated the contractor is to producing top-notch outcomes and assuring your pleasure throughout the entire process. So, don’t hesitate to ask about the warranties and make an informed decision that gives you added confidence in your choice of contractor.
7. Do You Have Proper Permits and Documentation?
Ensuring that the contractor you hire will manage all the necessary permits and paperwork on your behalf is of utmost importance. This proactive approach not only conserves your valuable time and effort but also serves as a protective barrier against potential legal complications or entanglements that could surface down the road. By entrusting these responsibilities to a dependable contractor, you can enjoy peace of mind and dedicate your focus to other aspects of your project or business with unwavering confidence.
8. What Safety Measures Do You Have in Place?
Ensuring safety should always be a paramount concern when undertaking any roofing project. It is crucial to inquire about the contractor’s safety practices, which encompass not only the equipment they utilize but also the extent of their training. By doing so, you can help guarantee the well-being and security of all individuals involved in the project, fostering an environment that prioritizes safety above all else.
9. How Will You Handle Unexpected Issues?
When embarking on roofing projects, it’s essential to acknowledge that they can occasionally unveil unforeseen issues that were not initially apparent. Engaging in a candid conversation with your contractor regarding their contingency plans for addressing these unexpected challenges is of paramount importance. Furthermore, it is prudent to inquire about the potential extra expenses that might arise due to these unanticipated circumstances. Establishing a transparent understanding of how the contractor intends to manage such situations contributes to a more streamlined and prosperous roofing project.
10. What Is Your Timeline for Completion?
To maintain a seamless workflow, it’s essential to gain a thorough grasp of the project’s schedule. Delays can be a source of significant frustration, which underscores the importance of having a precise understanding of what lies ahead. This knowledge empowers you to plan and allocate resources with precision. Being well-informed about the project’s timeline enables you to anticipate and address any possible challenges or obstacles that may emerge, ultimately contributing to a more successful and efficient execution.
*Bonus Tip: Check Online Reviews and Ratings
Prior to reaching a final decision, it’s advisable to conduct an online review and rating check for the roofing contractor. Platforms such as Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau can furnish valuable insights regarding their reputation and levels of customer satisfaction.
Selecting the appropriate roofing contractor is a momentous decision that holds the potential to influence the long-term structural soundness and overall value of your home. By posing these 10 critical questions and undertaking comprehensive research, you’ll be fully equipped to choose a dependable roofing contractor capable of delivering top-notch workmanship and providing you with peace of mind throughout your roofing project.
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