Virgin Money drafts in pricing chief for high street push

Virgin Money has stepped up preparations to take on the UK’s high street banking giants by hiring its first head of pricing who will develop strategy for a range of soon-to-launch products.

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Northern Rock’s Dave Angel has joined Virgin Money to develop a pricing strategy and framework for a range of deposit accounts to be introduced later this year. Virgin is believed to be looking at a value positioning, with loyalty incentives for its deposit accounts.

New mortgages and current accounts will launch in 2012.

The appointment comes ahead of Virgin’s planned bid for Northern Rock and Lloyds Bank branches that have been put up for sale.

A successful acquisition of either would take the Virgin Money brand on to the high street for the first time. It launched in 1995 but has so far operated as a direct and online business only, with about 3 million customers.

The Sir Richard Branson-fronted business announced last month that it would bid for both banks’ branches, and has been presenting to potential investors to raise the required funds.

Lloyds needs to sell 600 branches to appease European competition concerns, while Northern Rock is looking to sell branches to end its state ownership.

Virgin also recently announced it would open 4 “lounges” over the next five years. These are designed to allow customers “to experience Virgin Money in a physical, bricks and mortar sense” ahead of the roll-out of branches.

The lounges will offer banking information, an events space and Wi-Fi access.

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