For a while, television channels frequently showed advertisements for payday lenders. Well-known names included Wonga, Quick Quid, Pounds to Pocket and Sunny, all charging high rates of interest and making a large amount of money. But what happened to them all?
Below, we will look at a list of payday loan companies that have either gone into liquidation, administration or entered a scheme of arrangement. These companies are no longer trading, and most are no longer authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
First, let’s take a look at what those terms mean:
When a company is insolvent, it can’t pay its debts or afford bills when they are due. It may also be the case that the company has more liabilities than assets. The company might have made arrangements with its creditors to pay its debts off at a lower rate in order to save the business, but this may not work, and liquidation is sometimes the next step.
An insolvency practitioner will be brought in to oversee the liquidation. The company will not be allowed to trade. Everyone, including the directors, will lose their jobs, and the liquidator will deal with all of the debts and assets, rather than the company directors, dealing with claims for money from creditors and employees. This brings the company to an end, and the directors no longer need to complete annual accounts, tax returns or VAT returns.
When a company goes into administration, they are entering a legal process under the Insolvency Act 1986. Administrators will be brought in to liquidise the company if there is no other way to save it, or they may be able to financially restructure the business, work out a way to save it, and hand it back to the directors. Other options can include saving the company by selling it to someone else who isn’t related to the directors or the business in any way or keeping the company trading for long enough to sell off its assets and get the best possible return for its creditors. Administration will halt any CCJs, court proceedings and other claims for payment.
Scheme of arrangement:
A company doesn’t need to be insolvent with a scheme of arrangement, though this type of arrangement can also be used with an insolvency procedure. An arrangement can be made with their creditors or members under the Companies Act 2006, Part 26, following votes by all the classes of creditors and members to agree with the arrangement and by agreement of the English court. The arrangement begins when the court sends the sanction order to the Registrar of Companies in England & Wales.
Unlike administration, the scheme doesn’t automatically provide a moratorium or stay, on any legal proceedings, claims and enforcement action against the company, though this can be included. What it does is allow for restructuring in an attempt to save the company.
Problems started for payday loan companies when the Financial Conduct Authority took over regulation of consumer credit firms on 1st April 2014. As well as introducing new regulations, the FCA also introduced a 0.8% price cap per day on the amount borrowed from payday lenders. This came into force in January 2015.
Below, are listed fifteen different payday lenders, covering what happened to each company and where they are now.
1. Ariste Holding
|Company:||Ariste Holding Limited|
|Trading Names:||Cash Genie (cashgenie.co.uk), Txt Me Cash (txtmecash.co.uk), Payday Is Everyday (paydayiseveryday.co.uk)|
|Date of Liquidation:||05/01/2016|
|Liquidators:||RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP|
The FCA found the company guilty of a variety of failings that were present right from the early days of its trading, which commenced in September 2009.|
Some of these failings included charging excessive fees for sending letters, finding customers who had moved addresses and for late payments. They also charged customers a fifty-pound fee for transferring them to their sister company, debt collector, Carter Forbes, even though there was no cost to the business for transfers.
The company failed to send out required annual statements to all customers that were still paying off their loans after twelve months. After failing to do this, they should not have added fees and interest to these accounts, but they continued to do so.
The company encouraged existing customers to take out loans with their other brands, txtmecash.co.uk and paydayiseveryday.co.uk, without telling them that they were all part of the same company. They then used the provided bank details to take payments from these customers for Cash Genie without consent.
Before the FCA got involved, Cash Genie had already written off £10.3m of interest and fees, and they agreed with the FCA to provide a further 10 million pounds in recompense.
At the start of liquidation, they were still solvent and had the money to pay off all creditors to date, but, on 2nd November 2018, the liquidators wrote to all their creditors, saying that the company was no longer solvent, following an increase in claims. Any further claims after that were expected to get only part of any money they were due.
Cash Genie, and its other forms, no longer exist, and no further claims are being paid out as there is no further money to distribute.
|Company:||Wonga Group Limited and WDFC UK Limited|
|Trading Names:||Wonga (wonga.com)|
|Date of Administration:||31/08/2018|
|Administrators:||Chris Laverty, Daniel Smith and Andrew Charters from Grant Thornton UK LLP|
Wonga, like every other payday loan company, was affected by the intervention of the FCA in 2014 and 2015. With a cap on what it could charge, stricter criteria on lending, and claims and complaints against it for irresponsible lending, the company’s profits fell sharply from 2013. The business did write off £220 million of debt for 330,000 customers in 2014 and admitted that they had made loans to people who couldn’t afford to repay them.|
The company also suffered a serious data breach in April 2017, where the personal details of up to 270,000 UK customers were stolen, including bank details, addresses and card details. Such a breach would not have inspired confidence in the company.
In August 2018, the company’s shareholders added £10 million to keep the business afloat, but with so many claims for compensation, this didn’t make enough of a difference to prevent administration at the end of the month.
The deadline for sending in any claims was 30th September 2019. Administration was completed in August 2020, and the company was dissolved in December 2020.
3. Curo Transatlantic
|Company:||Curo Transatlantic Limited|
|Trading Names:||Wageday Advance (wagedayadvance.co.uk), Juo Loans (juoloans.co.uk)|
|Date of Administration:||26/02/2019|
|Administrators:||Howard Smith and Ed Boyle of KPMG|
Curo transatlantic’s reason for administration was much the same as it was for Wonga. The company was receiving a large number of complaints and claims against them for irresponsible lending, including charging very high-interest rates.|
The business made a request to the FCA In January 2019 for a scheme of arrangement that would have capped the refunds for unaffordable lending at £18 million. They then concluded that they weren’t going to be successful with the scheme of arrangement, stopped any further lending a week before the administration date, and chose to go ahead with administration instead.
The administrators immediately sold around 50,000 accounts, including all accounts for Juo Loans to Shelby Finance and, in May 2019, the loan book was sold to a debt collector named Lantern.
On 20th May 2020, the administrators announced that all unsecured creditors would get 5.68p in the pound. Payments were then made over the next few months.
4. Trusted Cash
|Company:||Trusted Cash Limited|
|Trading Names:||Trusted Quid (trustedquid.co.uk)|
|Date of Liquidation:||30/09/2019|
|Liquidators:||Joseph Walter Colley and John Anthony Dickinson of Carter Backer Winter LLP|
Trusted Quid admitted in 2018 that they had a systems data breach where any customers that made a loan application made on their website between 1st July 2016 and 17th February 2018 were likely to have been affected. The breach affected over 66,000 customers, and the data stolen included contact details, names, date of birth, bank account information, employment details and the loan information held by the company. Such valuable and personal information left customers open to identity fraud, hacking, and a variety of scams.|
Trusted Quid contacted customers to inform them of the breach and promised to repay any victims of identity fraud, though only under certain circumstances.
Not long after the data breach, the company went into liquidation. The company was closed down, and they are no longer authorised by the FCA.
5. Instant Cash Loans
|Company:||Instant Cash Loans Ltd|
|Trading Names:||PaydayUK (paydayuk.co.uk), Payday Express (paydayexpress.co.uk), The Money Shop (themoneyshop.com), Ladder Loans (ladderloans.co.uk)|
|Date of Liquidation:||30/03/2020|
|Liquidators:||James Douglas Ernle Money and Steven Edward Butt, both of Rollings Butt LLP|
Instant Cash Loans had 2 million customers and used to offer payday loans, pawnbroking and buying gold. It was fined £15 million in 2015 by the FCA for poor affordability checks. The company agreed on a scheme of arrangement on 9th October 2019 and went into solvent members’ voluntary liquidation (MVL) on 30th March 2020.|
Payday Express and Payday UK stopped offering loans in October 2017, and The Money Shop began closing shops in 2018 and also offering loans in August 2018. In the last six months of 2018, Instant Cash Loans received 45,000 complaints, and the scheme of arrangement was set up in October 2019 because the company couldn’t afford the costs of dealing with the complaints.
Overall, the company received 182,566 claims, and around 85% were upheld. Compensation should have added up to around £340 million but, while it was hoped that customers would receive 80p in the pound, the final amount agreed was 4.31p in the pound.
The company began making payments on 24th May 2021, and it’s too late to submit a claim.
6. CashEuroNet UK
|Company:||CashEuroNet UK LLC|
|Trading Names:||Quick Quid (quickquid.co.uk), Onstride (onstride.co.uk), Pounds to Pocket (poundstopocket.co.uk)|
|Date of Administration:||25/10/2019|
|Administrators:||Chris Laverty, Trevor O’ Sullivan and Andrew Charters of Grant Thornton UK LLP|
Just a year after Wonga collapsed, CashEuronet UK LLC found itself in a similar position, also because of a large number of claims against it. In 2018 alone, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) received 10,409 complaints about the company, with almost 60% being upheld in favour of the customer. The FCA’s new regulations in 2014 and 2015 also resulted in reduced income for the business.|
Enova, the US parent company of CashEuroNet, tried to persuade the FCA to allow a scheme of arrangement, but the FCA disagreed, so Enova decided to close the company and blamed the UK regulatory environment.
As the company is in administration, any complaints about unaffordable lending via the Financial Ombudsmen will be dealt with by the administrators, leaving claimants as unsecured creditors who will likely receive only part of what they have claimed.
As of 14th February 2021, no further claims are allowed.
7. Active Securities
|Company:||Active Securities Limited|
|Trading Names:||247 Moneybox (247moneybox.com)|
|Date of Administration:||29/11/2019|
|Administrators:||Paul Boyle, David Clements and Tony Murphy of Harrisons Business Recovery and Insolvency (London) Limited|
The company was one of many payday lenders that faced closure due to complaints from customers of high-interest rates, irregularities and irresponsible lending. There is no final figure of how many customers have been affected, but it is likely to be in the thousands.|
As the company is in administration, it is no longer offering loans.
The deadline for affordability claims for customers expired on 31 January 2021.
According to Harrisons’ website, “It had originally been hoped that any potential dividend to customers and creditors would have been available by the end of June 2021. This now appears increasingly unlikely….” Harrisons lists several reasons for the delay, including awaiting legal advice, manual claims that are still to be finalised and finalising realisations from sales.
8. DJS (UK)
|Company:||DJS (UK) Limited|
|Trading Names:||Piggybank (piggy-bank.co.uk), Aeroplane Loans (aeroplaneloans.co.uk)|
|Date of Administration:||05/12/2019|
|Administrators:||Shane Biddlecombe and Gordon Johnston at HJS Recovery UK Limited|
The company was told to stop trading in July 2019 by the FCA after concerns about irresponsible lending and poor affordability checks.|
After an investigation, the suspension on trading was lifted in September, but the financiers behind the company declined to invest any more money in the business.
On December 5th of the same year, the company went into administration. While customers are still able to make claims against the company, most consumers will be unsecured claimants who are unlikely to receive the full amount of their claim.
9. MMP Financial
|Company:||MMP Financial Limited|
|Trading Names:||Swift Sterling (swiftsterling.co.uk), My Money Partner (mymoneypartner.co.uk), Pounds Till Payday (poundstillpayday.co.uk)|
|Date of Administration:||09/12/2019|
|Administrators:||Chris Laverty, Trevor OSullivan and Helen Dale of Grant Thornton UK LLP|
Swift Sterling was originally owned by Northway Financial Corporation Limited, along with My Money Partner and Pounds Till Payday. MMP bought the brand names in 2016.|
On December 19th 2019, the FCA put MMP into administration. A full timeline of events can be seen to date on the Companies House website, including the information that on 15th June 2020, the company went from administration into creditors voluntary liquidation.
10. Cash On Go
|Company:||Cash On Go Ltd|
|Trading Names:||Peachy (peachy.co.uk), Uploan (uploan.co.uk)|
|Date of Administration:||05/03/2020|
|Administrators:||Adam Stephens, Gilbert Lemon and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson LLP|
According to the Mintos site, the company decided to cease operations in the UK. “After extensive evaluation for a profitable continuation of the business in compliance with the recently established regulatory requirements of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the management team of Peachy has taken a difficult decision to discontinue the operations by filing for administration process in order to manage a sustainable wind down of the company”.|
The administrator’s statement talked about “the company’s financial position and potential future redress claims”. The company was, according to the administrators, attempting to bring in new finance to keep the company trading, but the attempt was unsuccessful.
On the Peachy website, the administrators also state, “we will investigate the reasons for the Company’s failure and any creditor is welcome to provide us with information”.
On 6th July 2021, the administrators gave notice of intended dividend where they proposed to make a payment to unsecured creditors. They also set a deadline for any claims of 29th July 2021, so it is no longer possible to make a claim.
The administration was intended to last for twelve months, but one of the company’s secured creditors has agreed to an extension until 4th March 2022.
11. Uncle Buck
|Company:||Uncle Buck LLP|
|Trading Names:||Uncle Buck (unclebuck.co.uk)|
|Date of Administration:||27/03/2020|
|Administrators:||Paul Boyle, David Clements and Anthony Murphy, insolvency practitioners of Harrisons Business Recovery|
In January 2019, Uncle Buck’s accounts from 2018 revealed that the company had a deteriorating financial position.|
The FCA asked the company to look at the situation and to raise more capital to support the business. However, the business was unable to raise the funds to continue.
The FCA became concerned that the company “was failing to meet the adequate resources Threshold Condition. Given the severity of these concerns, the FCA has required Uncle Buck to stop lending to customers.”.
Following this, the company chose to go into administration in March 2020.
Harrisons, the administrators, is providing updates on the situation on their site. They have now set three categories for customers claiming from the company:
The first category is for anyone who made payments to the company after 27th March 2020. It is possible that these customers are entitled to claim and may get a reduction of their low or full or partial refunds of any payments they made after that date.
The second category covers customers who had, or have, a loan with Uncle Buck but haven’t made any payments after 27th March 2020. These customers will automatically have their accounts looked at for a possible loan reduction, though if they make a claim for redress, they will not receive a payout due to lack of funds.
The third category relates to anyone who had a loan with the company and paid it off before 27th March 2020. Unfortunately, these customers will not receive any payment as there aren’t enough funds to cover it.
Creditors have agreed that administration will be extended until 26th March 2022. The extension notice, along with further timeline information can be found on Companies House.
12. Elevate Credit
|Company:||Elevate Credit International Limited|
|Trading Names:||Sunny (sunny.co.uk)|
|Date of Administration:||29/06/2020|
|Administrators:||Edward George Boyle and David John Pike from KPMG UK LLP|
Elevate Credit International Limited traded as Sunny (sunny.co.uk), 1 Month Loan and Quid. The company went into administration on 29th June 2020. The administrators are Edward George Boyle and David John Pike from KPMG UK LLP.|
Sunny gave a quote to The Telegraph on 27th June 2020, stating that, “Unfortunately, due to the ongoing economic uncertainty as a result of coronavirus and the continued regulatory pressure on the business, we have had to take the difficult decision to give notice to appoint administrators”.
According to the BBC, the administrators looked at how many of the company’s 700,000 customers had been mis-sold loans and came to the conclusion that half a million of that number could make a claim. Given such a volume of potential complaints, the company couldn’t have survived making full payouts to all of them.
As with other administrations and liquidations in the sector, these claimants would all be unsecured creditors. It was thought at first that none of these creditors would receive a payout, but on 28th May this year, the administrators announced that claimants would get 3.21p in the pound as just over 40,000 people actually made a claim.
Every one of the 500,000 potential claimants should have automatically had their credit records cleared.
|Trading Names:||Myjar (myjar.com)|
|Date of Administration:||22/12/2020|
|Administrators:||David Clements, Paul Boyle and Anthony Murphy of Harrisons Business Recovery & Insolvency (London) Limited|
MyJar’s administration was announced on the FCA’s website and the administrator’s site contains a FAQ covering why the company chose this option.|
The FAQ stated: “The Directors of MYJAR have made the decision to place the business into administration due to external factors that have placed financial pressure on the business and its ability to trade through these challenges. Mindful of ensuring the business satisfies certain threshold conditions and the difficulties associated with raising additional funding in this economic environment, the directors of MYJAR have placed the Company into Administration.”
‘External factors’ doesn’t provide a lot of detail, but it is likely that the new regulations from the FCA and the increase in complaints about affordable lending led to MyJar’s collapse, like many other payday loan companies.
The FOS received 849 complaints about the company in just 6 months of 2020 and upheld 55% of that number, siding with the customer on over half of the cases. The costs involved to MyJar, if that level of upheld claims had continued, would not have been sustainable.
The administrator’s website has the latest information on MyJar’s administration, and Companies House shows all filings, including the latest administration progress report submitted on 5th August 2021.
The executive summary of the latest progress report states that “agreement was also reached with Treasury to set aside the sum of £600,000 an equivalent amount to the Prescribed Part to be utilised towards the costs of agreeing Redress customer claims and payment of a distribution to customers identified as qualifying as Redress Creditors.”
While that might sound like good news for customers, the report then goes on to say that: “Due to the potential volume of customers and redress entitlements, any distribution to customers entitled to redress is likely to be exceptionally small, perhaps in the region of 2p in the pound or even lower.”
Like so many of these payday loan administrations, as unsecured creditors, any claimants are likely to get very little of what they were due.
|Company:||Provident Personal Credit Limited and Greenwood Personal Credit Limited|
|Trading Names:||Provident (providentpersonalcredit.com), Satsuma (satsuma.co.uk), Glo (glo.co.uk)|
|Date of Scheme of Arrangement:||04/08/2021|
Provident began doorstep lending back in the 1880s and offered alternative lending options, including payday loans, with its other brands.|
As with many other payday lenders, the crackdown on these companies by the FCA reduced Provident’s profits and led to a stream of complaints about unaffordable lending.
A disastrous reorganisation in 2017, which saw the company’s share value drop by two-thirds over one day, didn’t help matters.
The FOS’s statistics at the start of 2021 showed that Provident was in the top two of companies with the most complaints in the second half of 2020, with 10,000 cases. With an uphold rate of 75%, full payouts would have become unaffordable for the company.
The final decision to approve Provident’s scheme of arrangement was made on 4th August 2021. The scheme will lead to a part payout for unsecured creditors but, had the company gone under, they would have received nothing.
|Company:||Amigo Loans Ltd|
|Trading Names:||Amigo Loans (amigoloans.co.uk)|
|Date of Scheme of Arrangement:||TBC|
Amigo Loans tried to agree a scheme of arrangement on 25th January 2021, but this was rejected by the court on 24th May 2021. Amigo is now looking at other options, including a new scheme.|
Rather than payday loans, Amigo offered guarantor loans where people with poor credit could borrow as long as the borrower had someone to guarantee that they would pay the loan if the borrower couldn’t afford to make the payments.
Although it wasn’t a payday lender, Amigo was still affected by the new FCA regulations and, as far back as 2016, Amigo was setting aside 9.5% of the company’s revenue to cover the cost of bad loans.
Over time, these costs increased, as did complaints about unaffordable borrowing, and with 90% of guarantor loan affordability complaints being upheld by the FOS, Amigo was paying out large sums to customers.
In January 2021, the FCA became involved due to the increasing number of complaints, and Amigo reached the point where they requested to set up a scheme of arrangement to avoid going under due to the cost of claims.
The scheme of arrangement was turned down by the high court after the FCA objected to its terms and commented that it was unfair to customers, given that customers would get very little, while a bonus payment of £7 million was included for the directors.
Amigo now says it is considering its options, including administration or a possible new scheme of arrangement.
With so many payday lenders going under and so little in the way of compensation for customers, what is next?
The FCA produced a report in February this year reviewing the unsecured credit market and how regulation can create a healthy market.
Does it go far enough? Only time will tell.