Thursday, 17 November 2011

Northern Rock ends up at Virgin for £747m

The government has announced this morning that it is selling Northern Rock to Richard Branson's Virgin Money.

The Newcastle based building society which became one of the first casualties of the credit crunch and saw queues outside its door back in 2007, will net the government £747 million in cash on closing of the sale, with the potential in the future to receive over one billion pounds in total.

The combined business of Northern Rock and Virgin Money will establish a new competitor in the UK retail banking sector and, in doing so, will lead to an increase in choice for high-street customers.

It will help increase diversity in the retail banking sector as Virgin Money seeks to innovate and expand into new market segments according to the Treasury.

Virgin have guaranteed that there will be no further compulsory redundancies, beyond those already announced, for at least three years from completion.

They have also promised to retain and, over time, expand the total number of branches and will make Newcastle the operational HQ for Virgin Money.

Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said the deal would create a "major new competitor" in the UK retail banking sector. She added: "The two businesses complement each other well and together they will create a strong bank with over four million customers.

The acquisition includes 75 branches and 2,100 staff, one million customers, a £14 billion mortgage book and retail deposits worth £16 billion. Virgin Money, which was founded in 1995, has around three million customers.

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