Virgin Money eyes Lloyds, RBS branches

Virgin Money is considering buying Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland branches as it looks to bolster its move into retail banking.

Virgin Money

The financial services firm’s new chairman Brian Pitman, says it would be interested in buying the branches if the price is right.

Pitman, a former chairman and CEO of Lloyds TSB, told Sky News he wants to create a “solid bank” by establishing a network of branches.

The branches are for sale after the European Commission ordered Lloyds and RBS to sell some of their assets following an inquiry into state aid.

Pitman adds that if the branches are in “locations that we were interested in” their purchase would “speed up the process of actually establishing branches”.

Virgin Money acquired a banking licence last month, which allows it to accept deposits and offer customers mortgages. It also recently bought private bank Church House Trust.

The firm has also moved to strengthen its senior management team. In addition to Pitman, who joined last month, it also recently appointed former Lloyds executive Marcus Ezekiel as commercial director and Ian Cornelius, former director of savings at Bradford & Bingley, as banking director.

Virgin Money hopes its retail banking operation will provide a “better, different form of banking” after public trust in the sector was hit by the financial crisis.

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