Virgin Money buys regional bank Church House Trust

| January 8, 2010 | 0 Comments

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money has announced it is to buy regional bank Church House Trust for £12.3 million and will invest £37.3 million into the business.

Virgin Money, which was unsuccessful in acquiring crisis-torn Northern Rock two years ago, already offers savings, credit card and investment products to around 2.5 million customers.

The purchase comes at a time when consumers have lost confidence in existing High Street banks following the financial crisis and Sir Richard wants to take advantage of this, giving Virgin the opportunity to quickly gain a share of the market.

“The Church House Trust business offers us a strong platform for growth,” said Branson.

“Virgin Money aims to bring simplicity to the UK banking market which has traditionally been a complex sector,” he added.

Meanwhile, chairman of Church House Trust, David Batten, said; “Church House Trust’s conservative business model has proven to be attractive to Virgin Money as a sound base from which to fulfil its banking ambitions.”

Church House Trust, which is based in Yeovil, Somerset, dates back to 1792. The bank, in which the Cayzer Trust is a major shareholder, offers both deposits and mortgages.

The purchase, which was approved by the Financial Services Authority, comes as the Government hopes to create more competition within the industry.

Currently, there are only four major players in the UK market following Lloyds TSB’s hasty takeover of HBOS. However, the Government hopes that branches being sold off by HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland will encourage competition.


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