Belfast Telegraph

Virgin Money boosted by lending rise and forecast-beating savings growth

The lender delivered £200 million of net mortgage lending, while savings deposits rose 7.4% to £31.1 billion.

Virgin Money hailed a “strong” performance at the start of the year as it posted rising mortgage lending and better-than-expected growth in savings deposits.

The challenger bank said it delivered £200 million of net mortgage lending – loans less redemptions – in a “competitive” market during the first three months of the year.

Total mortgage lending stood at £1.4 billion, with its overall mortgage book up 10.4% year on year and 0.5% quarter on quarter at £33.9 billion.

Chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia is leading a series of business-boosting initiatives at the lender (PA)

Virgin Money said growth in retail savings was ahead of expectations as it saw overall deposits rise 7.4% year on year and 1% since the previous quarter to £31.1 billion.

Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said: “Our customer-focused strategy of growth, quality and returns continues to drive strong business performance.”

She added: “In addition to the strategic initiatives, we are focused on growing assets at the right price and quality in a competitive mortgage market.”

“We remain on track to deliver on the targets we set at the end of last year.”

Shares lifted 3% after the update.

Virgin Money, which has more than 3.3 million customers, confirmed it remained on track with full-year guidance as it ploughs ahead with a business-boosting strategy.

It pushed into small business banking in January in an attempt to narrow the gap with Britain’s biggest lenders.

It launched an SME savings account and set sights on securing £5 billion of SME deposits within five years.

The group also announced a proposed fund management joint venture with Aberdeen Standard Investments in March, while it teamed up with Virgin Atlantic for a frequent flyer credit card offer last month.

Ms Gadhia said the group had seen a “stronger-than-expected” response to Virgin Atlantic offer.

Its overall credit card balances rose 13.9% year on year and 1.3% quarter on quarter to £3 billion in the three months to March 31.

The figures follow a solid 2017 for the lender, which posted a 28% rise in underlying profits to £273.3 million in 2017.

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