LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The banking group of Providian Corp., which includes First Deposit Corp. of San Francisco, reported a 27.5% increase in pretax income for the second quarter, to $37.5 million.

Providian, the insurance and financial services holding company that changed its name in the quarter from First Deposit Corp., said growth in the First Gold credit card portfolio, growth in the Select Equity home loan portfolio, increased fee income, lower net credit losses, and lower cost of funds contributed to the healthy earnings increase.

The card-issuing First Deposit National Bank, which specializes in highly targeted direct marketing of both unsecured and secured credit cards, consistently ranks among the most profitable banks in the country. The banking group's 27.5% income growth rate in the second quarter exceeded the 21.1% reported for the first quarter, when it earned $32.8 million.

Overall, Providian's operating earnings, which exclude investment gains and losses, rose 8% in the second quarter, to $93.7 million. Net income was down 11%, to $81.7 million, and revenues were off 2%, to $745.3 million.

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