Provident Financial Group (“the group”) was founded 140 years ago with a clear social purpose of providing financial inclusion for those who are not well served by the financial services industry, or are excluded altogether. The purpose of this report is to give a balanced account of Provident Financial Group’s performance across a range of social, ethical and environmental indicators. Below, you will find some highlights from the past year. Please refer to the Downloads section for a full copy of our report.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE

I am pleased to welcome you to Provident Financial Group’s 2017 Corporate Responsibility (CR) report.

We have been publishing reports like this for almost 20 years to provide an annual account of how we are continuing to address the social, ethical and environmental issues that are material to both our business activities and key stakeholders. The reports are, by their very nature, backward-looking and review the previous calendar year’s CR activities and explain, in a balanced way, the progress we’ve made in dealing with our CR priorities and goals”

Malcom Le May

Chief Executive

HEAD OF SUSTAINABILITY

At Provident Financial Group we have always sought to operate our business in accordance with our social purpose. This means continuing with our primary role of supplying credit to our customers in a responsible manner.

It also means taking account of the wider impacts that the group has whether they relate to the corporate governance of the business; the way we treat our employees, suppliers, local communities, wider society, and the environment; and how we deal with regulators and tax authorities”

Rob Lawson

Head of Sustainability

87%
Vanquis Bank customer
satisfaction rate
85%
Provident home credit
customer satisfaction rate
4.8
Satsuma Review.co.uk
score out of 5
4.7
Moneybarn Feefo
score out of 5
3%
Percentage of total
customer complaints
30% Carbon footprint reduction

We have met our target of reducing our scope 1 and 2 (and associated scope 3 emissions) by 30% from a 2015 baseline. We want to deliver services to customers as efficiently as possible. We are working to reduce our carbon footprint, whether it is a result of the energy that is used by our offices and by our people when they travel, or indirectly through the activities in our supply chains. We are also working to reduce the resources we use such as paper, and reducing and recycling the waste we produce.

Supporting customers

We recognise that our customers may, at any point in the relationship with us, find themselves in potentially financially difficult situations. This could be due to a significant life event such as a loss of income, illness or family bereavement.

170,000+

National Debtline

National Debtline, which is part of Money Advice Trust, offers free and impartial debt advice over the telephone and online to help clients manage their money with confidence. Our donations help support National Debtline to advise 170,000+ clients per annum via telephone and webchat. Our funding also contributes to supporting over 1m visits per annum made to the National Debtline website to access web guides, fact sheets and sample letters via the ‘My Money Steps’ tool.

£67,371

Leading debt charities

In 2017 we provided a bursary of £67,371 to CAP which was shared amongst 889 of it’s insolvency clients so that they could avoid a lifetime worth of debt repayment. On average, each client received £75.78. This bursary assisted 51% of CAP clients in accessing some type of insolvency route who on average, otherwise, would have taken 50 years to repay their debts.

In 2018, the scope of the work already delivered through the Vanquis Bank-IncomeMax partnership will be extended into the Provident home credit and Satsuma collections teams. The benefits of this include:

  • Enhanced compliance with regulatory requirements that relate to supporting vulnerable customers and treating customers fairly (TCF)
  • Improved group-wide debt advice strategy
  • Involvement in an innovative, trusted and best practice approach to supporting vulnerable and low-income customers
  • Enhanced understanding of how welfare reforms impact the customers of our operating companies

Supporting research into financial inclusion

Case study: Debt and relationships

Household and problem debt has been on the rise since the economic crash in 2008 and is increasingly gaining attention on the political agenda. These debts can adversely impact individuals and families, resulting in strain, poverty and poor mental and physical health. Understanding that these issues may affect our customers, we commissioned the relationship support charity, Relate, to carry out research which explored the links between debt and relationships. The research drew upon a wide variety of information including surveys of people in debt.

The research made recommendations to address these findings, including for relationship support and debt advice providers to work together more closely. The report also recommended training for debt advisors and relationship support practitioners on the links between finances and relationships. We will use the insights provided by this research to enhance the skill set of our own customer-facing staff within our businesses whilst sharing the findings and recommendations more widely. You can find this report at www.relate.org.uk

Gender pay gap

Employers across the UK with more than 250 staff are now required by law to publish the gender pay gap and the proportion of men and women receiving bonuses annually. Here are our results:

Provident Financial Management Services Limited

E5FFB7BD-EE08-4BFD-AC4F-F5828BE05DE6 Created with sketchtool. * These pie charts present the gender distribution in each organisation across four equally sized pay quartiles. These quartiles consist of: PMSL: 247 colleagues, Vanquis: 375 colleagues, PPC: 189 colleagues. 71.5% 28.5% Men Women Upper quartile 57.1% 42.9% Men Women Quartile 3 43.9% 56.1% Men Women Quartile 2 36.4% 63.6% Men Women Lower quartile Gender representation by pay quartiles* 00.0% 65.3% Bonus 30.9% 34.9% Hourly pay Median Mean Pay and bonus gender gap as at 05 April 2017

Vanquis Bank

B7D8C180-C9C5-4DF8-9B46-83B1956D6235 Created with sketchtool. * These pie charts present the gender distribution in each organisation across four equally sized pay quartiles. These quartiles consist of: PMSL: 247 colleagues, Vanquis: 375 colleagues, PPC: 189 colleagues. 57% 43% Men Women Upper quartile 43% 57% Men Women Quartile 3 44% 56% Men Women Quartile 2 47% 53% Men Women Lower quartile Gender representation by pay quartiles 21.8% 70.2% Bonus 14.4% 27.7% Hourly pay Median Mean Pay and bonus gender gap As at 05 April 2017

Provident Personal Credit

4DCCDEC6-A675-4504-BF57-8EB33032F633 Created with sketchtool. * These pie charts present the gender distribution in each organisation across four equally sized pay quartiles. These quartiles consist of: PMSL: 247 colleagues, Vanquis: 375 colleagues, PPC: 189 colleagues. 69.8% 30.2% Men Women Upper quartile 57.1% 42.9% Men Women Quartile 3 56.6% 43.4% Men Women Quartile 2 55.6% 44.4% Men Women Lower quartile Gender representation by pay quartiles 14.0% 70.2% Bonus 4.1% 10.1% Hourly pay Median Mean Pay and bonus gender gap As at 05 April 2017

Providing apprenticeships

CONSUMER CREDIT DIVISION

Following the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, the Consumer Credit Division launched a Team Leader apprenticeship programme in October 2017 which was aimed at supporting existing employees to develop their leadership skills. The individuals selected came from a variety of different business areas and brought with them a range of experience. To date they have participated in a number of workshops and development activities both internally and externally. We look forward to our colleagues graduating during 2018”

Leanne.png
Leanne Kellett
Graduate and Apprenticeship Programme Manager

VANQUIS BANK

The changes to how apprenticeships operate and the opportunity provided by the Apprenticeship Levy, enables Vanquis to introduce new and diverse talent to the business and provide our existing employees with highly valued opportunities to build their skills and obtain a qualification while working. So, to ensure the 20% off the job training and the opportunity to apply learning is facilitated without compromising performance and customer experience, we have taken a phased approach, ensuring we consider and implement proper guiding principles”

bevan.png
Bevan Heslop
Senior People Development Consultant

Health & wellbeing

Healthbigimg.png
32%
of staff in Bradford are members of the on-site gym
73%
class attendance increase since 2015
343%
increase in staff undertaking Health MOTs since 2015

We believe that providing employees with accessible or low-cost health, fitness and wellbeing programmes and infrastructure will positively impact their day-to-day lives by reducing their level of illness and positively impacting their mental health. This in-turn will hopefully reduce their amount of sick leave and result in them being happier and more productive in their work. We recognise that the gym is only available for use to colleagues based in Bradford, therefore, we will be working with Nuffield Health throughout 2018 to extend the partnership to our colleagues working in the field, so that they too can have better access to health and wellbeing initiatives and opportunities.

Our communities

Our community investment strategy supports our social purpose by addressing key barriers to financial inclusion and helping people overcome them.

£2.59m
Total community
investment
16,374
People benefited from our
community investment
9,337
People developed new
skills from our investment
220
Hours volunteered by
our employees
43
Partnerships supported
on a long-term basis

Raising literacy levels in Bradford

Helping to tackle the UK’s literacy challenge is a key focus for us, which is why we are a signatory to the National Literacy Trust’s ‘Vision for Literacy Business Pledge’. This commits us to help raise literacy levels in Bradford by taking practical action within our workforce, in our local community and at a national level. Through this commitment, we can help improve the chances of young people by ensuring they leave school with the skills they need to go on to employment or further education.

In 2017, we created a communal book space at our Bradford head office where staff could read and share books. We also established a partnership with the National Literacy Trust’s Bradford Literacy Hub and local education consultancy Leading Children Limited. This partnership delivered a ‘Parent Reading Power’ session which shared tips and resources with employees who are parents or carers to help develop their child’s literacy and communication skills.

RaisingLiteracyImg.png
money_charity.png
£65,500
Funding to the Money
Charity workshops

Ensuring consumer access to free money advice

We work with a number of money advice providers who offer free support to consumers (some of whom may be our own customers) who may find themselves having difficulty in managing their debt repayments. We understand the impact this can have on their lives both in the short term and longer term, and therefore make this commitment to the money advice sector to ensure access to free, reputable, and independent advice.

2018 Targets

Lending responsibly to our customers

Maintain or, in the case of Provident home credit, improve customer satisfaction levels.

Lending responsibly to our customers

Extend the scope of the work delivered by the partnership between IncomeMax and Vanquis Bank into other parts of Provident Financial Group (eg Provident home credit and Satsuma).

Ensuring the sustainability of our people

Ensure that there is at least 33% female representation on the Provident Financial plc board, the group’s executive committee and their direct reports.

Ensuring the sustainability of our people

Sign up to the Women in Finance Charter and agree a longer-term target regarding gender diversity in our middle and other senior management grades.

Ensuring the sustainability of our people

Establish an inclusive steering group to enable the effective management of equality, diversity and inclusion issues across the group.

Ensuring the sustainability of our people

Provide mentoring opportunities for all staff members.

Investing in communities

Continue to invest 1% of profit before tax in community programmes, money advice programmes and social research.

Investing in communities

Maintain our ongoing commitment to the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge and contribute to the development of research in partnership  with the National Literacy Trust to explore how literacy supports financial capability.

Investing in communities

Support the National Numeracy Campaign to ensure more adults in the UK benefit from knowing how to use numbers well and develop a numeracy programme for partner schools in Bradford.

Investing in communities

Develop and implement a school governor volunteering programme.

Investing in communities

Launch new social impact funds with two community foundations.

Investing in communities

Develop a consistent approach to providing money advice and enhanced customer support across all areas of the business.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Extend ISO14001:2015 to cover all Vanquis Bank operations.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Review the waste management process in our home credit branch offices and at head office with the aim of implementing recycling schemes as well as sending waste for energy recovery.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Work with industry professionals to align the Sustainable Development Goals with our CR strategy.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Review the use of plastic across our entire business operations, with the aim of eliminating single-use plastic.

Minimising our environmental impacts

Increase the scope of our carbon footprint reporting to include more scope 3 emissions.

Treating our suppliers fairly

Implement a group-wide corporate responsibility questionnaire as part of the on-boarding and due diligence process of all new suppliers.

Treating our suppliers fairly

Implement a group-wide approach for Prompt Payment Code compliance.

Treating our suppliers fairly

Provide more in-depth information for our annual Modern Slavery Act Statement.

Engaging with the Investment Community through CR

Maintain or improve our ratings on the mainstream sustainability indices (eg Carbon Disclosure Project, Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, FTSE4Good and Euronext Vigeo Indices).

Engaging with the Investment Community through CR

Increase communication regarding the CR strategy and relevant updates to shareholders and potential investors.

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