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Virgin applies to FSA for bank licence

Virgin Money has confirmed it has applied to the FSA to become a bank.

Virgin Money spokesman Grant Bather says: “Yes we have just applied for a licence. This is purely an administrative procedure. Since Northern Rock we have stated our intention to become a bank. This is purely an application and it does not mean there is anything in the pipeline.”

A source close to Virgin Money said it is considering options such as launching a joint venture with another bank, buying part of Northern Rock or starting a bank from scratch.

Plans to split Northern Rock in two ahead of a possible sale are set to gain European approval next week.

The restructuring will see Northern Rock’s retail deposits and low-risk mortgages separated into a “good” bank and sold off.

Sources indicate that Virgin may bid for the “good” part of the bank.

Virgin Money would not comment on whether it was in talks with Northern Rock over buying part of the business.


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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Simon Mansell - Temple Bar IFA 23rd October 2009 at 5:22 pm

    I assume Branson is no longer involved because in the biography a “Virgin King” Richard Branson disclosed how close he came to prison for tax fraud. Certainly, if he applied to the FSA to become an IFA he would not be considered “fit and proper”. Will this apply to a banking application?

  2. I would expect the last thing the Financial Market needs now is another bank and certainly not one under the auspices of Rihard Branson

  3. Does that mean the team of Jayne- Anne Gadhia and all those that followed her back to Virgin from RBS will be running it? I hope not. It was Jayne-Anne Gadhia when at RBS who said that she hoped they could introduce a mortgage package to rival Northern Rock’s then infamous “Together” 125% LTV offering. Perhaps they are planning to revive it!

  4. And here I was thinking that the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome only existed in Australia. In the big picture, I think Mr Branson has proven himself on the global stage to be a person of high integrity and always only of good intentions.

  5. Reference to Simon’s comments on ‘fit and proper persons’.

    The FSA has always clearly demonstrated that the rules for banks and IFA’s are very different. Presumably by extension therefore bankers will also be judged by different criteria.

    Was it not the previous head of the consumer side of RBS who had a CV based on supermarket retailing? to whence he has now returned and the previous head of NR was by his own admission ‘not a qualified banker’.

    This begs questions as to what is a qualified banker? and what ‘qualifications’ does a banker need?

    The events of the past couple of years have amply demonstrated that the vast majority of senior management in UK banks have been lacking one vital ingredient, common sense!

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