Provident reduces headcount at head office

Credit lender Provident Financial has introduced a voluntary redundancy programme at its head office in Bradford to reduce the headcount by 180 people.

There will be no compulsory redundancies among the workforce of 1,200 staff. The programme is expected to be completed in the next couple of months.

Provident is keen to manage its cost base now that the business is a lot smaller than it was. The redundancy programme will only affect head office staff.

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The group has warned that 2018 profits will be at the lower end of expectations following a rise in bad debts at its Vanquis Bank arm.

The firm said it has tightened its lending criteria in anticipation of the current uncertain UK economic environment. It has seen falling numbers of new accounts after clamping down on its lending.

Provident now expects full year profits to be towards the lower end of the expected range of between £151m and £166m.

The group’s chief executive Malcolm Le May said: “We have been progressively tightening our underwriting standards throughout the group in anticipation of the current uncertain UK economic environment we are facing.

“We will continue to monitor underwriting standards in light of any changes in customer behaviour.”

The company, which offers credit through its Vanquis Bank, Moneybarn and consumer credit business, said it saw a 71,000 fall in new accounts at Vanquis, down to 366,000 in 2018.