Virgin Money boosts its market share thanks to lending hike

Virgin Money Logo.

Virgin Money Logo.

Challenger bank Virgin Money saw a jump in mortgage lending over the first nine months of the year as the business continued to bolster its share of the market.

The Newcastle-based group said gross mortgage lending rose 38pc to £5.5bn for the nine months to the end of September, while net mortgage lending almost doubled to £2.6bn in the same period.

The bank, which employs 200 people at Norwich Business Park, said its share of the gross mortgage lending market for the first eight months of the year rose to 3.5pc, from 2.8pc in 2014.

The bank, backed by founder Sir Richard Branson and US financier Wilbur Ross, added that its retail deposits lifted by 3pc to £23.7bn from the end of June.

The lender said its asset quality remained strong, with a continued low level of impairments in the third quarter.

It added that over the last three months its share of the UK's £62bn credit market lifted to 2pc from 1.8pc as it launched new cards.

Chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said: 'I am particularly pleased with the continuing strength of our mortgage business.'

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She added: 'The demand for our new range of credit cards has exceeded expectations in the quarter as customers have responded to the quality and breadth of our proposition.

'As a result we remain confident that we can grow our credit card business to our target of £3bn of balances by the end of 2018.'

Virgin Money, which floated last year, is one of a number of challenger banks, such as Metro Bank and Aldermore, set up to compete with the UK's dominant high street lenders.

The bank said it hired George Ashworth from Dutch bank ABN AMRO Lease, where he was managing director of the UK branch, to head its small and medium sized enterprises (SME) banking unit.

The bank, which runs around 75 branches across the UK, has previously identified the SME sector as an area of growth for the business.

The group said it 'continues to be confident of delivering on its medium term targets as previously guided.'

Shore Capital analyst Gary Greenwood added the lender has demonstrated 'strong lending growth and market share gains in its mortgage and credit card businesses, with the latter tracking ahead of our expectations due to stronger than anticipated demand.'

Virgin Money employs more than 2,500 staff, with 1,700 based in Gosforth, Newcastle, and 200 in Norwich.