British sub-prime lender Provident Financial reported a 17 per cent rise in first half profit, benefiting from strong growth at Vanquis Bank, its online and internet division, which gives credit cards to those turned down by mainstream banks.
The company, whose roots date back to 1880, on Tuesday reported a pretax profit of £72.9m for the six months to end June, up from £62.3m the year before. Pretax profit at Vanquis Bank grew by 60 per cent to £28.2m.
Provident said that in the last 18 months it had focused on issuing credit to good-quality existing customers given the continuing pressure on household incomes from the rising cost of food, fuel and utility bills.
"The consistently cautious approach to extending credit in both businesses has reinforced credit quality and provides a sound basis for delivering good quality growth for 2012 as a whole," said chief executive Peter Crook.
Provident said the number of customers that failed to pay up - delinquency levels - at Vanquis had remained stable at record lows for the business.
City A.M. Reporter