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Provident Financial trades ahead of expectations in Q4, restructures Vanquis board

By Iain Gilbert

Date: Thursday 13 Jan 2022

Provident Financial trades ahead of expectations in Q4, restructures Vanquis board

(Sharecast News) - Sub-prime lender Provident Financial said its fourth-quarter trading performance continued to track ahead of management expectations, driven by favourable macroeconomic conditions and demand for credit from customers, and announced the restructuring of the board of Vanquis Bank as part of an effort to "substantially align its membership" with the board of PFG.
Provident Financial said its fourth-quarter trading performance continued to track ahead of management expectations, driven by favourable macroeconomic conditions and demand for credit from customers.

In the group's credit card business, credit standards remained "tight" and delinquency trends remained "benign", consistent with those outlined at the end of the third quarter.

Overall, customer credit card spend for the quarter was in line with pre-pandemic levels, although spend levels were impacted by the spread of Omicron through December and early January, in line with the wider market, while the group stated its vehicle finance business ended 2021 "well", with year-on-year growth in its customer numbers, customer feedback scores remaining positive and pricing of used vehicles at all-time highs.

As a result of the improved trading conditions in the second half, Provident now anticipates being able to release approximately £20.0m of Covid-19 macroeconomic related provisions as it reappraises its coverage ratios and intends to declare an ordinary dividend of approximately 30% of adjusted ongoing full-year earnings and anticipates providing guidance for a longer-term, progressive dividend policy with its full-year results.

Elsewhere, Provident Financial revealed it had restructured the board of Vanquis Bank as part of an effort to "substantially align its membership" with the board of PFG.

Provident said the restructuring was "an important step" in the execution of its specialist bank strategy, which includes the wider use of retail deposit funding across the group from the first half of 2022.

The FTSE 250-listed firm believes that streamlining the boards of the two legal entities in this way will create "a simpler, more efficient group governance structure", whilst also streamlining and enhancing both PFG and Vanquis' handling of corporate governance.

As part of the new governance structure, Patrick Snowball, Malcolm Le May, Neeraj Kapur, Andrea Blance, Angela Knight, Paul Hewitt, Graham Lindsay and Margot James were all appointed to the board of Vanquis Bank, with immediate effect.

Vanquis chairman Robert East will step down from the PFG and Vanquis boards, with effect from today, while managing director Neil Chandler and finance director Gary Thompson have decided to leave PFG and will each step down from their roles as directors on the Vanquis board and leave the firm on 31 March following a handover period.

As of 0815 GMT, Provident shares were up 1.65% at 357.0p.

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