Vanquis Bank

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Vanquis Bank is a subsidiary of the Provident Financial Group. Established in 2002 it offers credit cards under the VISA brand for UK residents with a limited or uneven credit history. It also offers a fixed rate bond service, launched in 2011.

Vanquis Bank Logo
Vanquis Bank

History[edit]

Vanquis was set up by Provident Financial and licensed for Consumer Credit by the OFT in 2002. It received authorisation from the Financial Services Authority the following year. Initially conceived as a pilot scheme from Provident, it received approval from the parent group to expand in 2004 and relocated to the current Head Office location in London in 2005.

Following extensive marketing and advertising, increased business volumes resulted in the customer services department moving to larger premises at Chatham in 2008, in part of what used to be the Chatham Naval Dockyards and in 2009 Vanquis rebranded, launched new credit cards and won the Credit Provider of the Year at the Credit Today Awards,[1] something it would repeat in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2011 a further call centre was opened in Bradford, and a High Yield Bond product was authorised by the FSA.[2] Vanquis also received a Passport banking license to operate in Poland in 2012.[3]

Management structure[edit]

Vanquis is overseen by the Provident Financial board in addition to its own management team. John de Blocq van Kuffeler[4] is non-executive Chairman of Provident after joining the group as Chief Executive in 1991 from Brown Shipley Holdings PLC. He is also Chairman of Huveaux PLC.

Managing Director Peter Crook joined Provident in September 2005[5] after previously being director of Barclaycard in 2000 and MD of UK Consumer Finance.

Finance Director Andrew Fisher was a former partner in Price Waterhouse and CFO of Premier Farnell before being appointed in 2006.[6]

Managing Director Michael Lenora joined Provident in 2007 after holding positions in Barclaycard and Goldman Sachs.

Offices[edit]

12 Arthur Street

The head office of Vanquis is at 12 Arthur Street[7] in London. Originally called Minster House, it was redeveloped in 2004 by HKR Architects and Shieldpoint Ltd. The site around Arthur Street has uncovered historical artefacts dating from Roman waterfront development[8] around 1st- 3rd Century AD.

Vanquis also operate a call centre in Chatham, Kent, making it one of the larger employers in the Thames Gateway area.[9]

In 2011 Vanquis opened an office in the new Southgate Complex development at 1 Godwin street in Bradford.[10]

Products[edit]

Vanquis Bank offer two main credit building cards, the Vanquis Card which has a representative APR varying from 39.9% to 59.9% depending on the credit circumstances of the applicant, and the Aquis card, which has a representative APR of 29.8%. Both are licensed under VISA.

Company results[edit]

Provident invested 6.7 million GBP in the Vanquis business[11] and reached the break-even point in 2007.[12]

Vanquis provided above-estimated results in 2010,[13] posting revenue of 162 million pounds which helped Provident to strong end-of-year figures. Many have attributed the gains made by Vanquis and Provident to the continued UK recession and the difficulty of obtaining credit from mainstream lenders with existing adverse credit,[14][15] however Vanquis cite that despite an increase in applications, acceptance rates are not significantly higher.[16]

Controversy[edit]

Vanquis has received criticism on credit forum groups such as Money Saving Expert for the high interest charged on their product cards and charges levied on defaulted payments.

Provident Financial has also been scrutinised on its doorstep lending policy and even received negative comments from its own collectors.[17] In 2011 Peter Crook was asked to give evidence before Parliament with other adverse credit lenders on a hearing about debt management.[18]

John de Blocq van Kuffeler's involvement with Provident was also called into question following his invitation to the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Catherine Middleton.[19] UK Charity Barnados has claimed that adverse credit companies are "cashing in" during the recession.[20]

The official response on the Vanquis website is that responsible use of the card products builds credit and assist users in improving their credit rating, which means they may be able to apply for more affordable forms of credit in future.

Charity[edit]

Vanquis Bank engage in a number of charitable causes including Hatua,[21] a charity created to educate children in the poorest parts of Kenya and provide books, computer equipment, learning resources and motivational guidance to talented pupils.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Credit Today 2009 award winners announced". Credit Today. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Provident Financial plc Interim Management Statement". "london Stock Exchange". "4 May 2011". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Chris Holland (3 May 2012). "Bradford finance firm plans Poland expansion". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Debrett's". Debrett's. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Provident Financial Plc". Business Week. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Kevin Reed (12 Feb 2009). "Profile: Andrew Fisher, Provident Financial FD". Accountancy Age. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Skyscraper News". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dan Swift" ("2008"). "Roman waterfront development at 12 Arthur Street, City of London". "Museum of London". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Invest Thames Gateway". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Chris Holland (13 January 2012). "Provident Financial enjoys successful year". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Provident Financial Preliminary Announcement of the Final Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2003". Interactive Investor. 26 February 2004. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Yvette Essen (12 September 2007). "Provident credit arm set to break even". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Provident Financial FY10 Profit Increases - Update". RTT News. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Stronger demand for doorstep loans boosts Provident Financial profits". Mail Online. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Neil Hume (16 November 2011). "Introducing Vanquis Bank (and an apology)". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "One million apply for 60pc interest rate credit card". The Telegraph. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Agents Say ... No!". Blog for provident Financial Group Agents. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "House of Commons Uncorrected Transcript of Oral Evidence HC 1649-ii". www.parliament.uk. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  19. ^ Polly Dunbar (23 April 2011). "Middletons invite doorstep loans boss (and lots of double-barrels)". Daily mail. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Lenders cashin in on child poverty". Barnado's. 20 June 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Hatua". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 

External links[edit]