Provident Financial plc
IndustryFinancial services
HeadquartersBradford, England, UK
ProductsCredit cards
Home Collected Credit
Online loans
Consumer car finance
RevenueDecrease £534.6 million (2021)[1]
Increase £142.2 million (2021)[1]
Increase £(32.1) million (2021)[1]
Provident Financial HQ (Left), Bradford, England
Provident Financial HQ (Left), Bradford, England

Provident Financial plc is specialist bank for UK adults who are not served by mainstream lenders. Based in Bradford, England, it specialises in credit cards, online loans and consumer vehicle finance. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The company was established in Bradford in 1880 by Joshua Kelley Waddilove to provide affordable credit to families in West Yorkshire as the Provident Cloth and Supply Company.[2][3] The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1962.[4]

Provident Financial Group were one of the first financial institutions to enter into estate agency in the UK,[5] establishing Whitegate Estate Agency in two cities 1978, and by the end of the year was operating in eight Yorkshire towns.[6] The chain grew to 19 branches by the end of 1979,[7] 22 branches by the end of 1980[8] and 23 branches by the end of 1982.[9] Innovations brought to the market place included seven day opening, computerised mailing lists, a "No Sale - No Fee" guarantee and an all include fixed fee.[10] By late 1985 there were 60 branches of the chain,[11] expanding with a move into the East Midlands in 1986 to 70 branches (the 10 in the East Midlands were acquisitions which had trade during 1986 under their former names.[12] As the chain reached its 10th anniversary towards the end of 1987, the chain totaled 95 branches of which 17 were franchised,[13] rising to 107 branches (27 franchised) by the end of the following year.[14] The chain was sold for £19 million[15] in December 1989 to Legal & General.[16]

In 2002, Provident Financial formed Vanquis Bank, with a full banking licence from the FSA, a consumer credit licence with the Office of Fair Trading and a licence from Visa International to operate and issue credit cards under the Visa brand. Vanquis Bank specialises in the pre-paid credit cards.[17]

In 2005, the company closed its Yes Car Credit business, which had sold second-hand vehicles to customers with problematic credit histories.[18] 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.[19] In 2007, it demerged its international business, and a new separate public company was formed called International Personal Finance.[20] This company now holds all of Provident Financial's ex-non-UK operations, with the exception of the Republic of Ireland. It also sold the motor insurance business.[21]

In 2011, Vanquis were criticised for offering repayment option plans to their credit card customers, a form of insurance some consumer sites referred to as the 'new payment protection insurance (PPI)'.[22] In 2012, the company were the subject of an episode of the BBC documentary series Panorama, which alleged that the company were breaching Office of Fair Trading guidelines by offering loans to vulnerable people who might not have understood the implications of the contracts they were entering into. The programme featured two instances of people with mental illness who were given substantial loans, including a woman diagnosed with schizophrenia who was lent several thousand pounds. The company were criticised by the Citizen's Advice Bureau, whose chief executive told Panorama, "I call into question...the motivation to keep exploiting people who clearly can't be held responsible for their own decisions in that situation."[23]

In 2013, Provident launched its online short-term loan Satsuma Loans.[24]

In 2014, Moneybarn was acquired by Provident Financial plc, joining the home credit and online credit businesses and Vanquis Bank to become the third leg of the group.[25]

The Central Bank of Ireland in late 2014 fined and reprimanded Provident for flagrant breaches of the regulatory requirements aimed at protecting Irish consumers.[26] The five whistleblowers who reported the law breaking were then sacked by Provident, which led to the matter being raised in Dáil Éireann.[27]

On 22 August 2017, Provident Financial lost two-thirds of its stock value in a day, following its second profit warning in two months, the replacement of its chief executive by Manjit Wolstenholme, cancellation of a shareholder dividend and a warning that the full-year dividend might also be cancelled, and the announcement of an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.[28][29] The share price, which had been £32 in April 2017, was £8.50 by the first week of October 2017.[30]

On 15 March 2021 Provident announced they intend to introduce scheme of arrangement, in which £50m would be set aside for compensation payments for claims made before 17 December 2020, which are still unresolved. Provident claim that if the scheme is not approved then their consumer credit business will go into administration.[31]


In the UK, Provident Financial trades under two different brands, including Vanquis for its credit cards and loans and Moneybarn for its vehicle finance operations. Operations are based in Bradford, in London, in purpose-built premises located in Chatham, Kent and Moneybarn is based in Petersfield, Hampshire.[32]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual results 2021" (PDF). Provident Financial. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  2. ^ O'Connell, Sean, Credit and community: working class debt in the UK since 1880 (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  3. ^ "heritage". PFG. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Provident Financial". London Stock Exchange. Archived from the original on 10 April 2017. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  5. ^ Ennew, Christine, ed. (1993). Cases in Marketing Financial Services. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. pp. 196–200. ISBN 0750606614.
  6. ^ Provident Financial Group (1978). Annual Report 1978. p. 10.
  7. ^ Provident Financial Group (1979). Annual Report 1979. p. 8.
  8. ^ Provident Financial Group (1980). Annual Report 1980. p. 7.
  9. ^ Provident Financial Group (1982). Annual Report 1982. p. 6.
  10. ^ Provident Financial Group (1983). Annual Report 1983. p. 32.
  11. ^ Provident Financial Group (1985). Annual Report 1985. p. 7.
  12. ^ Provident Financial Group (1986). Annual Report 1986. p. 7.
  13. ^ Provident Financial Group (1987). Annual Report 1987. p. 7.
  14. ^ Provident Financial Group (1988). Annual Report 1988. p. 11.
  15. ^ Provident Financial Group (1989). Annual Report 1989. p. 7.
  16. ^ Whitegates (Midlands) Limited (1989). Accounts for the Period Ended 24 November 1989. p. 1.
  17. ^ "Vanquis Bank increases interest rates on top fixed-rate savings accounts". Love Money. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Write better papers, faster!". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  19. ^ Car finance glossary Archived 2008-05-26 at
  20. ^ Provident Financial puts £70m into demerger
  21. ^ "Provident Financial sells motor insurance arm to GMAC for £170m". Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  22. ^ "Corporate Crime & Investigations Update - 2 March". Addleshaw Goddard. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  23. ^ "Doorstep lender gave 'thousands to schizophrenic woman'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  24. ^ Treanor, Jill (27 October 2013). "Provident Financial launches Satsuma loans at 792% APR". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  25. ^ "Provident Financial buys Moneybarn for £120m". FT. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Central Bank is still failing us, despite all we've gone through". Irish Independent. 7 December 2014.
  27. ^ "Call for Central Bank probe after Provident sacks 'whistleblowers'". Irish Independent. 17 June 2015.
  28. ^ Rob Davies (22 August 2017). "Provident Financial sees nearly £1.7bn wiped off stock market value". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Provident Financial slumps the most on record". The Irish Times. 22 August 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  30. ^ "Philip Hammond faces hot seat as bad news piles up". The Guardian. 8 October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  31. ^ "Provident Refund Claims". The Claims Guide. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  32. ^ "Provident Financial lands £120 million deal". Telegraph and Argus. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2016.