Provident Financial: Provident and Satsuma Loans
History and Ownership
Bradford’s Provident Financial Plc (identified as Provident Financial Group or PFG) delivers subprime personal credit products across a range of markets. They boast a remarkable level of industry experience with Joshua Waddilove having created the original company in 1880. Doorstep lending is at their core. In those early beginnings they would hand out vouchers that could be exchanged for coal, clothing or food. Collections were then made weekly. They have always been the clear market leader in the home credit market operating as Provident. This is itself a trading name of Provident Personal Credit that is also used as their site address. Satsuma Loans was launched in 2013 essentially as the online equivalent of their doorstep business.
Vanquis Bank is their credit card business and they also own Moneybarn who delivers car finance. A few projects have been closed down noting their guarantor brand GLO. Then there was also Greenwood that saw its exit in April 2014. Greenwood was an early competitor formed in Ashton in 1877 that they acquired in 1977 when they had hit their 100th year. Today the Group collectively serves just over 2.4 million customers. Vanquis has the lion’s share of 1.6 million, Provident’s share is 731,000, Satsuma’s is 66,000 and Moneybarn has 46,000. They did have an international business that they opted to sell off. This company now renamed International Personal Finance also has 2.4 million customers spread across 11 international markets.
Info: Provident Loans
www.providentpersonalcredit.com (Alexa UK Rank: #93,756)
We have seen considerable downsizing from the market leader in recent years. At one time they had 11,000 agents that was cut to 4500. More recently they have decided to replace these with 2500 full-time CEMs (Customer Experience Managers). Their collectors have operated from 240 branches although this tally may too have dropped. Their customer base has suffered a little. A past report highlighted 860,000 that is now 731,000. It is unlikely that they’ll be able to hit the magic million mark due to the falling demand in this sector as well as the increasing competition from Morses Club. Their coverage across the UK is excellent and they even cater the Irish through www.providentpersonalcredit.ie.
The initial borrowing sums are £100 to £1000 whilst existing customers may qualify for £2500 max. The terms are 13, 26 and 52 weeks (3, 6 or 12 months). Reloaning extends to 104 weeks. For pricing of £300, you’d pay £129 (13w) and £168 (26w). £1000 per year is priced at £872. The historic target audience here has been people on low wages and poor credit. A CCJ, the unemployed and those with no bank have still been able to qualify. Once you have applied the CEM will pop round to complete the loan process and then weekly visits follow. The visit will be arranged during their opening hours that are Monday to Friday (8am-8pm) and Saturday (8am-5pm).
Info: Satsuma Loans
www.satsumaloans.co.uk (Alexa UK Rank: #21,857)
Satsuma’s launch in 2013 will have concerned all of the major lenders. The subprime giant has a proven track record and the financial backing to compete with all the industry heavyweights. As the years have passed by they haven’t quite grown as expected, but they are still mixing it up with the top established firms and their heavy ad spends are helping. It is however clear that this niche will become the owner’s biggest challenge to date. This service delivers more flexibility than their doorstep business, but they are much more picky with affordability. £100 to £1000 is made available across any month between 3 and 12 months. You can alternatively repay weekly across 13 to 52 weeks.
The amount of £2000 is available on reloans. The £300 charge will set you back £142.80 (3m) and £268.80 (6m). Repaying weekly sees an improvement of £129.26 (13w), but there is a jump to £274.60 (at 26w). £1000 is priced at £992 (12m) or £990.04 (52w). There has recently been a Satsuma Loans login portal added to the site called MySatsuma. This is handy although for an early settlement you’d need to give them a call. Their team is available between Monday and Friday (8am-8pm) and Saturday (8.30am-5pm). Once approved it is stated that hourly payments run between 6am and 11pm. They don’t mention whether this is 7/7 or just during their operational days.
Reviews: Feefo, Review Centre, Reviews and Trustpilot
Each of the brands focuses on different platforms to collect user feedback. Provident’s approach is Feefo where they score 96% from a pool of over 6750 reviews. Satsuma’s choice is Reviews.co.uk where they achieve a 95% rating from over 1660 feedback. Their score on Trustpilot is low at 39% from 13. PPC is similar at 31% from 10. They also rate 36% at Review Centre this time from over 70 reviewers. Fast and helpful was commonly praised for the web service whilst those at PPC showed support for the agents. On the portals with little feedback (mostly negative) it was usually a case of applicants being declined, slow payouts etc.
There is a lot of interest in doorstep loans like Provident. We would generally advise people interested in this type of product to apply with Loans At Home or Morses Club. These are suited for their excellent coverage wherever you may be based. Many of the other firms are small and tend to restrict to specific areas. For lenders like Satsuma Loans, the main shared trait would be that flexible range of 3 to 12 months. This range is also in place at MyJar who performs at a similar level. It is however H&T that takes flexibility to the next level delivering terms across an impressive range of 3 to 24 months.
The Plus Points
The main plus point at either company is the owner’s sheer level of experience. It is always important to be dealing with a loan provider who has stood the test of time with good customer satisfaction rates and this is what you’ll find here. If you are likely to struggle with qualification then you should be heading to the doorstep choice where they have really mastered the craft. For those in better financial circumstances, Satsuma’s loan is the obvious choice. The repayment flexibility is great here and another plus point is that there are no late fees charged. When you are in a position to pick and choose, it may however be worth comparing other instalment lenders where you can benefit from lower pricing, Sunday funding etc.
Last Updated: January 5th, 2018.