Virgin Money confirms swing to black as digital switch gathers momentum

Virgin Money, the Glasgow-headquartered lender, has confirmed a return to the black with pre-tax profits of £417 million for the year to the end of September.

The figure, flagged in a recent trading update, compares with a loss of £168m loss a year earlier.

Lending balances dipped 1 per cent to £72 billion as the group “managed volumes carefully through the year with a strong performance in unsecured balances, broadly stable

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mortgage balances and a reduction in business lending”.

The lender has rebranded its Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank branches under the Virgin Money banner. Picture: Virgin Money

Chief executive David Duffy said: “In 2021, the group achieved a strong improvement in financial performance, and I’m excited about the next phase as we become a growth-oriented digital bank offering a best-in-class customer experience.”

In September, Virgin Money, formerly known as CYBG, the owner of the historic Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank names, dealt another blow to high street banking after taking the axe to a dozen Scottish branches.

The lender said the number of customers using bank branches for day-to-day transactions had been on a “downward trajectory” for a number of years, and this has been further accelerated by the pandemic.

Rob Murphy at Edison Group noted: “The firm’s increasing push to a digital business highlights the pressure on the traditional branch-based banking model in the UK with the industry still struggling to generate adequate returns due to high costs, strong competition in mortgages and low margins.

“Virgin Money aims to reposition over the medium term with its accelerated focus on digitalisation and a more streamlined business model,” he added.

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