PROVIDENT’S update has confounded expectations. Peer Cattles, which is in restructuring talks, warned just last week that creditors should brace themselves for heavy losses, yet Provident has managed to remain profitable – with Home Credit finally growing again – up seven per cent year-on-year.

Its statement directly reassures on the fears that have hit the shares recently – the impact of welfare cuts on customer cash flows is insignificant – the capping of benefits that family households can receive at around £500 per week will affect less than one per cent of households served by Home Credit. Its balance sheet is strong – with £300m headroom on its debt facilities, and its gearing ratio below 3.5 times.

An 8.2 per cent dividend yield this year and a ten times price to earnings ratio make the shares attractive.