Provident's Moneybarn unit being investigated by UK's FCA

Dec 5 (Reuters) - British lender Provident Financial said the country’s financial watchdog had opened an investigation into Moneybarn, its car and van financing arm.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigation will examine the “processes applied to customer affordability assessments for vehicle finance and the treatment of customers in financial difficulties”, Provident said.

The British sub-prime lender has run into trouble after trying to reorganise its door-to-door lending business by ending its model of using self-employed agents as debt collectors and replacing them with directly employed staff.

Against a backdrop of broader public and political criticism of the high-interest lending sector, Provident is already contending with lost income resulting from an FCA investigation into its Vanquis Bank. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)