Shares in Provident Financial were down on the FTSE 250 after the group reported a rise in pre-tax profit in the full year ended 31 December 2010.

The home credit provider said that customer numbers increased 5.7 per cent during the year to 2.41 million, while average customer receivables rose 4.4 per cent to £1.1 billion.

Pre-tax profit climbed 13 per cent to £142 million, while before exceptional items pre-tax profit rose 11.1 per cent to £144.5 million.

Provident said that it would be holding its total dividend per share at 63.5 pence per share.

The group's Consumer Credit Division saw its pre-tax profit climb slightly from £128.9 million to £129.1 million, while the group's Vanquis Bank reported a rise in pre-tax profit of 89.4 per cent to £26.7 million.

Peter Crook, Chief Executive of Provident Financial, said, "I am pleased with the strong performance we delivered in 2010. Through continuing to focus on the needs of our customers, we have been able to expand the flow of credit to consumers whilst continuing to lend responsibly. By careful management of yield, impairment and costs, we have delivered earnings growth well ahead of receivables growth. We have also made excellent progress in further diversifying our funding base and now have banking headroom of £370m following additional funding raised through private placements since the year end.

"Both Home Credit and Vanquis Bank have made a good start to 2011. Combined with our strong funding and liquidity position, we are well placed to continue to deliver good quality growth through this year. When the UK economy begins to recover, we see an enhanced opportunity to build on our leading position in the UK non-standard consumer lending market."

By 15:30 shares in Provident Financial were down 4.55 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 986.00 pence per share.