What is happening at Premium Credit? This is the question being asked by brokers since the Biba conference. The rumour mill went into overdrive concerning MBNA and supposed plans to sell off the commercial division of Premium Credit.

The possible buyer was named as Close Bros, but all parties fiercely denied the speculation. One source said Premium Credit chief executive Graham Puttergill used "unusually colourful language" when questioned by one hack.

And then last week an industry source spotted the whole Premium Credit sales team at the Holiday Inn Express hotel at Gatwick.

"The whole national team were just sitting there at 8.30am having a meeting about something," said the source.

Not the most salubrious of surroundings for high-powered meetings but then the airport is handy for easy access.