Provident Financial dips into cash reserves to pay £120m back to retail investors

Oliver Gill
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Provident Financial is to report on its third quarter trading on Friday, 13 October (Source: Getty)

Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds have been left reeling after troubled doorstep lender Provident Financial dipped into recently extended banking facilities to hand out £120m to retail investors.

A retail bond matured last Wednesday, meaning Provident was forced to repay investors from cash reserves.

In January, RBS and Lloyds led a syndicate that increased loan facilities to Provident by £67.5m to £450m and rejigged the lender's banking covenants.

It is understood Provident is not currently in breach of its covenants, leaving the banks almost powerless to stop it from drawing down on facilities.

Read more: Hundreds of Provident Financial agents 'happily' jump ship to rival

Provident experienced one of the biggest sell-offs in FTSE 100 history in August after revealing a catalogue of problems.

The firm warned it was struggling to collect debts after shaking up its network of agents earlier in the year. It said losses could top £120m and boss Peter Crook would step down immediately.

Meanwhile, the Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation into the mis-selling of PPI-style products. Analysts have estimated it is facing of a bill of up to £300m as a result.

Paying back the £120m bond is likely to put pressure on its cash reserves and raise the spectre of a capital restructuring, one City source said.

Provident is expected to provide a bulkier than usual third-quarter update on Friday, with investors keen to see whether the new management team – led by the former head of the lender's consumer credit division Chris Gillespie – nipped some of the lender's problems in the bud.

Provident Financial, RBS and Lloyds all declined to comment.

Read more: Provident Financial facing a £300m bill in a PPI-style mis-selling scandal

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