Virgin Money makes move into retail banking sector

£50m deal for Church House Trust allows Virgin to offer domestic mortgages.

Virgin Money has moved into retail banking with the acquisition of small private bank Church House Trust.

The deal means the finance company owned by Sir Richard Branson can now accept deposits and offer customers mortgages.

The £50m deal to buy Church House Trust, which has been approved by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), comes two years after Virgin Money failed in its bid to win control of Northern Rock.

Virgin Money says the acquisition of the private bank will provide the platform for the company to develop a retail banking business in the UK.

Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, says: “Virgin Money aims to bring simplicity to the UK banking market, which has traditionally been a complex sector.”

Jayne Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money, says its retail banking operation will provide a “better, different form of banking and increase competition in the sector”.

She adds: “Our aim is to make ‘everyone better off’ in the way we do business by offering good value to customers, treating employees well, making a positive contribution to society and delivering a growing profit to shareholders. Our approach to banking is founded on developing a sustainable, savings-based business.”

Virgin Money is to start its sponsorship of the London Marathon this year, after the Virgin Group signed a five-year deal for the event, replacing Flora.

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