Virgin Money aims for 5m bank customers by end of the year

Kasmira Jefford
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VIRGIN MONEY said yesterday it is on course to reach 5m customers by the end of the year as it reaps the benefit of rival banks’ scandals and payment problems.

Virgin, which had around 4m customers after it spent £747m buying Northern Rock from the government in November, said that since the January merger it had had attracted an extra 400,000 customers across its credit card, insurance, investment and pension products range.

Its entrance into the market has help challenge the dominance of the five largest banks; Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds and Santander, which together still hold a tight grip on the majority of customers.

A Virgin Money spokesman said Barclays’ Libor rigging scandal and payment problems at RBS had boosted customers.

A large part of Virgin’s growth is in the competitive mortgage market, where it has in recent months registered up to 50 per cent of net new mortgage lending.

The group, which opened its first high street store last month in Guildford – boasting iPads and free wifi – plans to roll out current accounts later this year.