Provident upbeat despite Britons looking cautious

SHARES in sub-prime lender Provident Financial bounced nearly five per cent yesterday after it reported a dip in impairments.

The stock closed up 4.84 per cent at 995.5p after Provident said impairments in the consumer credit division were running below the 2010 level.

Collections were “strong” as customers’ behaviour remained cautious in the fourth quarter.

Provident, which lends to people who cannot get credit from mainstream banks, also highlighted the boost to the agents’ commission scheme introduced in April.

Chief executive Peter Crook said the group had seen a “good” finish to the year.

The credit card division Vanquis Bank generated “strong growth and margins” in the fourth quarter. Full year results are set to be in line with expectations and will be published on 28 February.