Leeds-based Morses Club sees trading return to pre-virus levels

Doorstep lender Morses Club has seen shares jump higher after revealing that trading is almost back to levels seen before the Covid-19 crisis struck.

Paul Smith

Shares in the Leeds-based sub-prime lending group lifted as much as 10% after it revealed that collections last month in its home-collected credit division jumped to 98% of normal expectations, up from 91% at the end of June.

It said cash in July improved slightly to 82% of levels seen a year ago, with sales at 80.9% of 2019 levels, helping put it on track to return to pre-coronavirus trading by the end of August.

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The group – which has switched all its employees and agents to home-working until the end of the year due to the pandemic – said it had seen a “positive” uptake of its new remote lending service.

It added that customer repayments have been solid thanks to high-quality lending, with 100% payment to terms for new customers and 97% for existing customers.

Morses has also seen a surge in customers using its online portal, which launched last year, with more than 110,000 customers now registered, up from around 78,000 at the end of February.

Chief executive Paul Smith said: “We are encouraged by both the improvements in lending and the quality of the lending performance that we have delivered during July.

“We continue to make progress despite the impact of Covid-19, reflecting the success of our prudent approach to managing the business.”

Morses Club’s home-collected credit division is the second largest in the UK, with 224,000 customers.