Virgin Money hails disruptor status after progress in ‘difficult market’

January 28, 2020 @ 13:36 by Steven Hugill

Bosses at a North East lender say it remains well placed to further muscle in on the UK’s established elite after performing well in a “difficult market.”

Virgin Money officials say the bank has made “strong progress on our ambition to disrupt the status quo” following a rise in customer deposits and business and personal lending in the three months to December 31.

Although mortgage lending was down in the period, bosses say the group performed well, adding new products – set to be launched this year – will further bolster its standing.

According to the bank, which late last year unveiled plans for a 200-job digital disruption hub at its Gosforth offices, customer deposits grew 1.6 per cent to £64.8 billion in the three-month period, with business lending up 2.5 per cent to £8.1 billion.

Personal lending was 3.7 per cent better off at £5.2 billion – helped in the main by credit card growth – though Virgin’s mortgage book was down 0.8 per cent to £59.6 billion.

Reflecting on the results, David Duffy, chief executive, said he was pleased with the bank’s progress and reiterated its drive to increase its foothold in the sector.

He said: “The group continues to perform well.

“In a difficult market, our own performance has remained on track and we continue to make strong progress on our ambition to disrupt the status quo.

“We are attracting relationship deposits and delivering growth in customer balances across business and personal, while maintaining our discipline in a competitive mortgage market.

“We have also now delivered on our commitment to lend £6 billion to SMEs over the three years to the end of 2019, with £6.5 billion lent in total.

“While sentiment improved following December’s election result, the UK banking market continues to face competitive pressures and uncertainty over the final Brexit settlement.

“However, we continue to focus on supporting our customers in their everyday lives, delivering on our strategic priorities and meeting our medium-term financial targets.”

Late last year, the bank unveiled plans for a new digital disruption hub at its Gosforth base, which it said will create and support more than 200 jobs by the end of 2020.

The endeavour – which will create new jobs and provide work for existing staff – is initially expected to propel innovation and improvements to the way the bank serves mortgage and business banking customers.

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