Provident Financial changes CEO and name

Bradford-based Provident Financial plc on Thursday said that its chief executive officer is to step down, while its fourth quarter trading remains in line with market expectations.

Provident Financial also said it plans to change its name to Vanquis Banking Group plc from March, in recognition of its new and future mix of lending products and its repositioning as a specialist banking group.

The group, which focuses on customers in the mid-cost and near-prime credit markets, said Malcolm Le May has decided to step down as CEO and will be replaced by Ian McLaughlin, subject to regulatory approval.

McLaughlin is expected to join the summer in line with his notice period as Bank of Ireland UK CEO, a role he has held since 2019. Le May will continue in post until that point, before remaining with Provident Financial to support an orderly transition.

Le May became CEO in February 2018, after being appointed executive chair in November 2017.

Provident Financial said McLaughlin is a highly experienced banking CEO, with a strong track record of delivering growth through improving customer service and enhancing distribution while working in consumer finance, motor finance, savings, small and medium-sized enterprises finance and mortgages.

In 2021, Provident Financial closed its home collected credit business, which carried the Provident brand, when it chose to focus on its credit cards, vehicle finance and personal loans operations in the mid-cost and near-prime parts of the market.

In other news, Provident Financial said that fourth quarter trading was in line with market expectations, with net lending particularly strong as credit issued and customer acquisition volumes increased “significantly” year-on-year.

The company’s credit card business was up 9% during the fourth quarter and by 11% in 2022 as a whole, while vehicle finance receivables grew by 5% in the fourth quarter and by 10% across 2022.

Looking ahead, the group said it remains well-positioned with strong capital and funding positions, despite the “challenging” macroeconomic backdrop”, aided by a “robust” credit risk management framework.

“2022 was a transformational year for the group as we built on the very strong foundations put in place during the previous year,” said outgoing CEO Le May.

“We enter 2023 with a planned new corporate identity as Vanquis Banking Group, a new secured product strategy with the launch of our second charge mortgage pilot phase and new funding optionality with the approval of the large exposure waiver.

“In 2023, we will continue to support our colleagues and customers during the current high inflationary environment. The group remains well positioned to deliver long-term attractive and sustainable returns to shareholders and the board remain confident in the outlook for our businesses.”

Providential Financial said it anticipates publishing its annual results on March 31.

Reporter: Greg Rosenvinge, Alliance News

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