They should have approached RBS who sponsor the Six Nations, oh hang on, didn't they nearly cripple a whole nation and get bailed out to the tune of billions?
Ah yes, the very same RBS which pulled the Bulls' overdraft and precipitated the whole administration crisis. Although it would probably have happened sometime anyway.
You know, I came on here thinking the Bulls had signed a brilliant sponsorship deal, only to find instead that the club has sold its soul to the devil. There's enough ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy on this thread to fill a Stephen Jones aricle.
So, about Provident. I'll declare an interest up front. When my Dad was demobbed in 1945 he went to work for Provident, and stayed there for over thirty years, so as a child my entire livelihood depended on that company. I even worked for them myself for a couple of years in the early seventies. As kids we used to enjoy the Christmas party the firm paid for, and my Dad enjoyed the annual staff trip to London they also paid for. Up in my spare bedroom there's a Wedgewood table lighter, suitably engraved, which staff were given to celebrate the Coronation in 1953. It was a family company (the Waddilove family) until flotation about fifty years ago.
Provident was founded in Bradford in 1880. That's 132 years of business. It's not an opportunistic web-based payday loan outfit. It operates on a very old-fashioned business model, a national network of agents dealing directly with customers, a personal relationship which many people still prefer and trust. Its market is the lower paid, those in insecure employment, those in rented accommodation. Those, in fact, which the High Street banks are not interested in, but who nevertheless sometimes need or want to borrow money, relatively small amounts on a short-term basis, and who want to pay weekly. I suspect its customer demographic will not be too dissimilar to that of the sport of Rugby League. Because it's relatively high risk lending, and operates on a labour intensive basis, its interest charges are high. Having said that they are nowhere near the rates charged by the payday lenders. The best known of the payday lenders is Wonga.com, founded by a right wing nutjob whose crazed ideas on employment rights are currently finding favour with the Tories in government.
I also have to say that, whilst Provident have had the occasional controversy in their lengthy history, one thing they haven't done is bring the economy of the Western hemisphere to its knees by casino-style lending, neither does it pay its executives telephone number bonuses after being bailed out by the taxpayer. It operates in a highly regulated industry and complies with the Consumer Credit Act, The Financial Services Act, the Data Protection Act etc.
If all that sounds like a puff piece then I apologise. I just felt a few people needed to be set straight. And after writing it, I'm still very happy about the sponsorship deal.