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Richard Branson’s Virgin Money completes Northern Rock deal

13:44 01 January 2012

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money.

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money today completed its £747m deal with the Treasury to buy the Northern Rock out of public ownership.

Having first attempted to buy the Rock when it was close to collapse in 2007, Norwich-based Virgin Money now becomes a national high street brand with a network of 75 branches around the country.

The deal also sees Virgin Money take on the Rock’s one million customers, £14bn mortgage book, £16bn retail deposit book and 2,100 employees.

Combined with Virgin Money’s existing business of three million customers, the enlarged group will have more than four million customers and will trade under the Virgin brand.

Sir David Clementi will be chairman of the combined business and Jayne-Anne Gadhia will be its chief executive.

Ms Gadhia said: “We have a unique opportunity to build a new kind of bank in the UK. A bank that’s honest, fair and transparent. A bank that will aim to make a real difference and provide enhanced competition in UK retail banking.

“Northern Rock and Virgin Money fit together perfectly and both have real experience in delivering service that customers truly value. We will now work together in our quest to change banking for the better.”

The Government will receive an initial £747 million with the potential to secure £1 billion in total - less than the estimated £1.4bn it has injected into the bank during its period of public ownership.

Though the new Virgin Money group will be based in Newcastle, the firm said there would be no impact on existing operations at Whiting Road in Norwich.

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