Provident Financial banks on credit card as its sales increase

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OMERS who are turned down by traditional lenders have flocked to Provident Financial’s credit cards, offsetting a subdued appetite for doorstep borrowing, the firm said in a trading update yesterday.

The firm, which provides credit to borrowers who are rejected by high street banks, said its push to recruit more customers in the last quarter of the year helped turn around a slump seen at the start of 2012.

Home credit customer numbers ended the year flat at 1.83m, after sliding two per cent in the first half of the year.

However, squeezed household finances meant sales in the key weeks leading up to Christmas were 2.5 per cent lower than a year ago.

Debt collection levels have been similar to a year ago, Provident added.

Vanquis, the firm’s FSA-registered credit card company, increased its UK customer base by a whopping 30 per cent to 899,000 in the final quarter of the year.

The average amount due to be paid off by customers rose 37 per cent over the year.

A pilot credit card offering in Poland is also going to plan.

“Both businesses enter 2013 with sound credit quality and the group's funding position remains very strong,” said chief executive Peter Crook in a statement.