Virgin Money

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Virgin Money
Type Private (Limited liability)
Founded 3 March 1995 (1995-03-03)[1]
Founder(s) Richard Branson
Area served UK, Australia, South Africa
Services Finance
Banking
Mortgages
Owner(s) Virgin Group
Website www.virginmoney.com

Virgin Money is a banking brand used by three independent brand-licensees worldwide. Virgin Money branded services are current available in Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Virgin Money branded services were formerly offered in the United States.

Each Virgin Money branded entity acts independently from the others, thus the products vary from country to country.

Current brand licensees[edit]

Virgin Money Australia[edit]

Virgin Money currently has operations in Australia with 150,000 customers.

In 2003, Virgin Money launched its first venture outside of the UK by introducing its credit cards in Australia. Virgin Money Australia initially launched in partnership with Macquarie Bank Pty Ltd,[2] followed by Westpac, and added superannuation (2005) and home loans (2008) to their product suite. The card was Australia’s first no annual fee credit card. The card was marketed as a cheaper option to most other credit cards with up to 55 interest-free days and an interest rate of 12.99% (April 2007). Customers were entitled to offers through the credit card’s ‘Mates rates’ scheme, which included offers from other Virgin companies in Australia such as Virgin Blue, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Atlantic. A comprehensive restaurant discount scheme, operated by the Entertainment Book company, was also available. The Virgin Credit Card was withdrawn from sale in Australia as of 3 April 2008 after the five-year agreement with Westpac came to an end. Customers could continue to use their cards as normal, but no new Virgin credit cards could be issued. When a customer’s card expired, they were transitioned to the ‘Ignite’ card by Westpac.

At the time of Virgin Money's launch in Australia the group company that combined the UK and Australian operations was co-owned by Virgin Group and HHG. In 2004 100% ownership of that UK/Australia group company was acquired by Virgin Group for Aus. $219 million.[3]

In 2008, Virgin Money Australia withdrew its home loan product from the Australian market due to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and the credit cards portfolio was transferred to its supplier, Westpac Banking Corporation, after the end of a 5-year agreement. In 2009, Virgin Money launched car insurance, partnering with A&G Insurance Services and also announced their strategic alliance with CitiBank, with plans to launch a suite of retail banking services in 2010.

Virgin's credit card products were relaunched in Australia on 27 July 2010 with two new cards: the Flyer Credit Card, and the No Annual Fee Credit Card.

In 2013 Virgin Money Australia was sold to the Bank of Queensland for $40 million.[4] The Bank of Queensland have rights to the Virgin Money name in Australia for four decades while paying royalties to the Virgin Group. Virgin are also given a seat on the board of the Bank of Queensland as part of the deal.

Virgin Money South Africa[edit]

Virgin Money currently has operations in South Africa. In 2006, Virgin Money South Africa launched with a credit card initially in a partnership with ABSA worth $33 million.[5]

Virgin Money UK[edit]

Virgin Money currently has operations in the United Kingdom with 4 million customers.[6] The company was initially established as a personal finance company under the name of Virgin Direct in 1995, and the Virgin Money brand itself was introduced in 2000. Virgin Money rapidly expanded as a bank in 2012 with the purchase of the nationalised bank Northern Rock.

Former brand licensees[edit]

Virgin Money US[edit]

In 2007, Virgin Money launched in the USA after the Virgin Group made a majority stake investment in CircleLending, a company that facilitated peer-to-peer loans.[7] Virgin Money USA entered into dissolution on 1 November 2010, and is no longer listed as a Virgin property on the Virgin Money home page; the Virgin Money US site itself was also dismantled.[8][9][10] Virgin Money subsequently withdrew entirely from the US market[11] and its social lending servicing was transferred to its servicing partner, Graystone Solutions, which continues to service the social loans under its own brand.

Corporate identity[edit]

The former logo of all Virgin Money operations

Virgin Money's logo is focused around the main logo of Virgin Group, which is an underlined word 'Virgin' in a red and magenta gradient coloured circle. This logo was introduced in January 2012 to signify the purchase of Northern Rock, which used a magenta logo.

Virgin Money's older logo was the word 'Virgin' in a red rounded skew rectangle, similar in shape to a credit card, followed by the word 'Money'. This logo remains in use in South Africa. The previous logo had used a red logo with the word 'Virgin' in a large circle and three smaller circles above the word 'Money'. Virgin Direct's logo had been a more simplistic rendering of the company name, in white on top of a red rectangle with a semicircle attached on the left side.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Case Studies Heat Virgin Direct" (PDF). Target Four. Retrieved 17 January 2012. "3rd March 1995, in partnership with Norwich Union, Virgin Direct launched with its first product" 
  2. ^ "Macquarie Bank takes stake in Virgin Money". Macquarie Bank. 8 November 2005. 
  3. ^ "Virgin takes 100% ownership of Virgin Money Group". Virgin Money Australia. 27 April 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Branson sells Virgin Money for $40m". News.com.au. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Absa, Virgin in $33m venture - South Africa.info at the Wayback Machine (archived April 20, 2006)
  6. ^ "Virgin Money acquires Northern Rock". Virgin Money UK. 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  7. ^ "CircleLending Becomes Virgin Money USA; Gets Makeover and Millions in Funding". TechCrunch. 16 October 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "Virgin Money". Virgin Money. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Delaware Division of Corporations". State of Delaware. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  10. ^ "Virgin Money US". Virgin Money US. 29 October 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  11. ^ "Virgin Money Closes Shop in the U.S., Victim of Bad Timing". American Banker. 2 December 2010. 

External links[edit]