Sub-prime lender Provident Financial delivered a 14 per cent increase in pre-tax profits in 2016 driven by a strong performance from its credit card and car loans businesses.

The FTSE 100 lender lifted adjusted profit before tax from £292.9m to £334.1m.

Vanquis Bank, its credit card business which offers initial credit lines of £250 rising to a maximum of £1,000, grew its loan book by 13.8 per cent with customer numbers up 8 per cent.

It added 406,000 new customers however this was slower than in 2015 when it recruited 433,000.

Moneybarn, its car loan business which provides credit in the second hand car market, “performed extremely well” and has more than doubled in size since it was acquired in 2014.

The consumer credit division achieved a 9 per cent rise in profits,with a “robust performance” from its home credit or doorstep loan business and reduced start up losses at Satsuma, its online installment loan product launched in 2013. It said Satsuma is “now on course to deliver profitable growth”.

Provident Financial is the UK’s largest doorstep lender where agents collect weekly repayments from some of the UK’s poorest households.

However in recent years the company has been repositioning the business in line with tighter credit conditions. As a result year on year customer numbers were down 9 per cent to 862,000, but the loan book grew 7.3 per cent with agents focusing on better quality customers lending larger amounts.

Peter Crook, chief executive, said the company had made a “good start to 2017.”

The company also said it was assisting the Financial Conduct Authority which in 2016 announced it was extending its market review of high cost credit to cover doorstep lending, guarantor loans, rent to own and pawn broking.

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