Expanding credit card operation Vanquis Bank, which is creating around 250 jobs in Bradford city centre, ensured lender Provident Financial had a strong finish to 2011.

Growth in the division’s new deposit-taking business was also ahead of plan, the company revealed.

It offset a steadier position in the group’s traditional home lending business where, due to the tough financial conditions, the focus has been on dealing with reliable existing borrowers rather than seeking new ones, which also minimised bad repayment levels at Provident.

Vanquis Bank continued to generate strong growth and margins throughout the fourth quarter, whilst the company retained a tight grip on lending criteria which stabilised “delinquency” at record low levels.

The division had increased customer numbers by 27 per cent to 691,000 by the end of the year with average receivables rising by 35 per cent.

The new Vanquis retail deposit business was running ahead of plan with around £140 million of deposits taken on a range of one to five-year fixed- rate accounts, paring interest rates of between 3.15 per cent and 4.65 per cent.

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