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Provident Financial plc
Type Public
Founded 1880
Headquarters Bradford, UK
Key people John van Kuffeler, (Chairman)
Peter Crook, (CEO)
Industry Finance
Revenue £751.2 million (2008)
Operating income £128.8 million (2008)
Net income £92.1 million (2008)
Website www.provident

Provident Financial plc (LSE: PFG) is a financial services group based in Bradford, UK. It specialises in Home Collected Credit (HCC) and also owns Vanquis Bank which offers credit cards. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.



The Company was established in 1880 to provide affordable credit to families in West Yorkshire.[1] The company's credit methods were rapidly popularised amongst the working classes, but from its outset The Provident (or Provvy as it was often known) was subjected to criticisms by those who were opposed to consumer credit or the costs associated with doorstep credit.[2] The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1962.[1] In 1997 it extended its operations to Poland and the Czech Republic.[1]

In June 2004, the National Consumer Council referred a Super-Complaint regarding the Home Collected Credit industry to the Office of Fair Trading. The Office of Fair Trading published a consultative paper which raised concerns about concentration of market share between the four largest providers, including Provident Financial. It also mentioned a number of business practices and customer characteristics which could hinder market competitiveness.[3]

In 2005, the company closed its Yes Car Credit division, which had sold second hand vehicles to customers with problematic credit histories via a national network of retail locations, offering the vehicle and finance as a single package.[4] The company had been plagued by bad publicity, including a TV investigation into its selling practices, pressurisation of staff, unreliable vehicles and debt collection methods[5].

In 2007 it demerged International Personal Finance[6] and sold its motor insurance business.[7]


In the UK, Provident trades under a number of different brands, including Provident Personal Credit and Greenwood Personal Credit for its home credit operations, and Vanquis Bank for its credit card operation. Also Real Personal Finance become a new trading style of Provident Personal Credit offering direct debit loans rather than the traditional home collected credit; this venture proved to be unprofitable and the RPF product was withdrawn in February 2010. The home lending operations are based in the head office building in Sunbridge Road in Bradford and Vanquis Bank is based in London with purpose built premises located in Chatham, Kent.

The Company's biggest business is lending to people in their homes via a network of doorstep agents. Out of an estimated 2.5 million people who borrow from HCC providers, 1.5 million place their business with Provident Financial, giving the company an estimated 60% market share.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Provident Financial: History
  2. ^ Sean O'Connell,Credit and community: working class debt in the UK since 1880 (Oxford University Press, 2009
  3. ^ OFT action on Home Collected Credit Super-complaint
  4. ^ Investors Chronicle: Provident to close Yes Car Credit
  5. ^ Car finance glossary
  6. ^ Provident Financial puts £70m into demerger
  7. ^ Provident Financial sells motor insurance arm to GMAC for £170m
  8. ^ Doorstep agents help Provident Financial ride out the credit storm, Financial Times, 29 December 2007.

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