Virgin Money

Virgin Money

Virgin Money is a UK-based financial services company owned by the Virgin Group and founded by Sir Richard Branson in March 1995. It was originally known as Virgin Direct, and pioneered index tracking by launching a value Personal Equity Plan into the market.

Virgin Money currently offers a number of products, most of which are run in conjunction with other financial service providers. As of 2008 it offers the Virgin Credit Card (issued by MBNA), a prepaid debit card (issued by Clydesdale Bank), loans (Provided by Co-operative Bank and Freedom Finance), mortgages (provided by The One Account), cancer cover (provided by Scottish Widows), insurance - split into cancer insurance, life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, pet insurance and travel insurance (underwritten by UK Insurance and Scottish Widows), savings accounts and ISA's (provided by The Royal Bank of Scotland) and pensions.


It launched as Virgin Direct in partnership with Norwich Union during 1995 offering PEP's and launched Virgin One, in a partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, in 1997. In 2000, was launched as a price comparison website. In 2002, Virgin Direct merged with to form the current company.

International operations

In 2003, Virgin Money launched its first venture outside of the UK by introducing its credit cards in Australia. Virgin Money Australia is partly owned by Macquarie Bank Pty Ltd and has added home loans (2006) and superannuation (2005) to their product suite. In 2007 they branched out of only selling products in direct channels, by launching a team of self-employed contractors selling their products 'face to face'. In 2008 they plan to launch personal loans.

In 2006, Virgin Money South Africa launched with a credit card initially in a partnership with ABSA.

In 2007, Virgin Money launched in the USA after the Virgin Group made a majority stake investment in CircleLending. CircleLending was founded by US entrepreneur Asheesh Advani in May 2000, launched in 2001 and incorporated in July 2002. At this time, it primarily facilitates peer-to-peer loans similar to, Zopa and Lending Club. However, Virgin Money US focuses on borrowers and lenders who already have an existing relationship (such as friends or family) unlike its competitors in the P2P lending business.

Northern Rock bid

On 13 October 2007, Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Group were putting together a consortium of financers to propose to plough millions into the troubled Northern Rock bank and in return take approx a 30% stake in the business, bringing the current financial products offered by Virgin and combining them with Northern Rock's own financial products. By February 2008, Virgin were the favoured bidders for the bank and announced in its official submission to the government that, if successful, they would have merged the Northern Rock and Virgin Money, naming the new company "Virgin Bank".The bid was not successful. (Credit: Wikipedia).


Media Release

Sir Richard Branson to attempt Atlantic crossing record aboard 'Virgin Money' - 4th September 2008

* Virgin Money and TEAMORIGIN to cross Atlantic on maxi yacht ‘Virgin Money’
* It’s a family affair with Holly and Sam Branson set to join the 24 strong crew

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of The Virgin Group will this week join America’s Cup Challenger, TEAMORIGIN, in a new attempt to break the transatlantic record, which currently stands at 6 days, 17 hrs, 52 minutes and 39 seconds, to become the undisputable fastest mono-hull sailing yacht to cross the Atlantic.

The partnership with TEAMORIGIN, the British America’s Cup sailing team, is the second major sponsorship for the Virgin Money business in recent months, following the announcement that it is to take over sponsorship of the London Marathon in 2010 in a deal worth over £17 million over five years.

Veteran adventurer Branson has made a number of world record-breaking attempts since 1985. However this latest attempt will be the first time he is joined by children, 26 year old Holly and 23 year old Sam, both very competent sailors, in a voyage which will see them navigating icebergs and floating hazards such as containers, whales and sharks. As a qualified Doctor, Holly Branson will also take on the role of medic onboard.

In 1986 Branson crossed the Atlantic in the fastest ever recorded time on board the powerboat "Virgin Atlantic Challenger II", followed a year later by the epic hot air balloon crossing of the same ocean in "Virgin Atlantic Flyer" – the largest ever balloon flown at 2.3 million cubic feet capacity.

This latest attempt to break the record sees Virgin Money and Sir Richard joining forces with yacht owner, Alex Jackson and Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal of TEAMORIGIN. Set up in January 2007 by Mills, the team’s aim is to win the next America’s Cup. The team is currently in training for this event, participating in extended activities such as competing in the iShares Cup Extreme 40 series and fine-tuning the design of the 99ft Super Maxi yacht ‘Virgin Money”.

TEAMORIGIN recently celebrated three of their sailing squad winning gold medals in Beijing: Ben Ainslie, Skipper and Helmsman for TEAMORIGIN won his third gold and fourth medal overall; Iain Percy, tactician for TEAMORIGIN, won his 2nd gold and Andrew Simpson won his first gold medal.

‘Virgin Money’ was launched in April 2008 and competed in its first event, the Newport to Bermuda race in June 2008 where it took line honours. In this new record attempt the yacht will set off from the Ambrose Lighthouse (just out of New York) sailing to Lizard Point, the most South West point of the UK.

Virgin Founder, Richard Branson commented: “It is real privilege to set sail with such an able and experienced crew as TEAMORIGIN and I’m also thrilled that Holly and Sam have the opportunity to share the experience. The support of Jayne Anne and the Virgin Money team has been crucial in making this record attempt happen and we’re all hoping we can add to the recent successes of British sailing. I’m also delighted to be taking on another record attempt – ten years has been too long!”

Virgin Money’s chief executive, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, said: “Great Britain has some of the best sailing talent in the world and we’re delighted to be able to offer our support as TEAMORIGIN gears up for the America’s Cup. We wish the team every success.”

Sir Keith Mills, Team Principal of TEAMORIGIN said “We are very excited to be teaming up with Virgin Money and Richard. This is a great opportunity to showcase Britain’s America’s Cup team with some of our best sailors and a boat designed by Juan Kouyoumidjian, TEAMORIGIN’s Principal Designer”.

Mike Sanderson, Team Director of TEAMORIGIN and Co-Skipper of ‘Virgin Money’ commented “Having followed all of Richard’s adventures, it is a privilege to be attempting this next challenge together on Virgin Money. I certainly believe we have the hardware in place to have a successful attempt at breaking this record. Having been there myself in 1998 and 2003 when Mari Cha broke the transatlantic record, this feels like the right team and the right boat to do it again. For TEAMORIGIN it’s great to be able to get out on the water again as a team”.


For updated press materials throughout the record attempt please go to:

UN: atlantic
PW: files

Notes to editors:
For further information

Scott Mowbray/Grant Bather, Virgin Money
Tel: 01603 215594

Kevan Reilly, Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Tel: 0207 638 9571

For Sir Richard, Holly and Sam Branson information contact:
The Virgin Group Press Office:
Tel: + 44 207 229 4738

About Virgin Money:

* Virgin Money is Virgin’s financial services arm and was established in 1995.
* Virgin Money has almost 2 million customers and offers a wide range of financial products across lending (e.g. credit cards and personal loans), savings (e.g. deposits, investments and pensions) and protection (e.g. life assurance, household and car insurance) to the UK market.

Virgin Money Personal Financial Service Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: Discovery House, Whiting Road, Norwich NR4 6EJ. Registered in England No. 3072766. Entered on the Financial Services Authority's register number 179271.

For further information about TEAMORIGIN, go to



Virgin Money

Virgin Money Australia



Richard Branson


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Mediaman does not represent Virgin Money