Virgin Money nabs RBS digital chief for online push

Virgin Money has poached Royal Bank of Scotland’s digital chief Christopher Morson to develop its online offering as it steps up preparations to take on the UK’s retail banking giants.

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Morson, who will take on the newly created head of digital development role, has been asked to develop the bank’s customer-facing “digital platforms”, such as its mobile offering and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

The appointment comes as Virgin Money readies a bid for some of the Northern Rock and Lloyds Bank branches that have been put up for sale. It is thought that the Sir Richard Branson fronted bank is in talks with potential investors.

Virgin announced in May that it would bid for both banks’ branches, and has been presenting to potential investors to raise the required funds.

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.

Morson, who joins later this month, was digital director for the RBS group, where he oversaw the RBS and NatWest online and mobile platforms.

He joined the now state-backed bank in 1999 and held a number of digital development roles before being handed the director job last March.

Last month, Virgin appointed Northern Rock’s Dave Angel to develop a pricing strategy for a range of mortgages, deposit and current accounts to launch over the next two years.

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