Virgin boss promises to ‘create a better kind of banking’ after Richard Branson takeover of Northern Rock

at the helm: CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia and Richard Branson.

at the helm: CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia and Richard Branson.

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THE woman at the helm of Northern Rock has vowed to create a new kind of high street bank.

Virgin Money formally completed its take-over of Northern Rock plc this week.

An agreement with HM Treasury to buy the entire issued share capital of the bank had been signed in November.

The acquisition includes 75 Northern Rock branches, a mortgage book worth about £14billion, some £16billion in retail deposits, 2,100 employees and about one million customers.

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

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

She 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.”

Ms Gadhia was in the region this week to meet staff at Northern Rock’s Gosforth headquarters and was quick to reassure workers about the future.

Virgin Money has promised there will be no compulsory redundancies among Northern Rock staff for at least three years and the new CEO was at pains to point out there is no overlap between the Internet-based Virgin Money and the high street-focused Northern Rock.

“We need all of the staff to make the business work,” she said. “It never occurred to us to do anything other than keep the Newcastle base. My message has been as little change as possible. Until we all agree what the right change for any of our products or services is, it is business as usual.”

This week’s take-over does not affect former Northern Rock call centre staff on Wearside.

The Doxford International centre is owned by UK Asset Resolution Limited, which runs the section of Northern Rock hived off to deal with the bank’s bad debts, and is still in public hands.

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