Bee in your bonnet about Branson???
Tiresome action-billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin group is in talks to take the helm of listing mortgage outfit Northern Rock, it's been revealed today. Northern Rock is on the block after it had to be bailed out by the Bank of England last month. The fallout from the sub-prime crisis spanked its ability to raise finance. …
I'm a Virgin One customer (which I realise he sold off a while back to RBS) and haven't had any complaints thus far. Excellent customer service, very versatile and simple to use. It hasn't changed in 8 years. About the first to offer a reduction in mortgage rate to those who already own most of their home, which means they've been pretty cheap for the flexibility I get, and got telephone banking spot on too.
All in all I'd say his first foray into the mortgage market was a success.
RBS only own the one account. They don't own the rest of Virgin Money, hence why it's now known as 'the one account', rather than 'the virgin one account'.
I've had a credit card with them and I found them far too pally and ameturish. I object to a bank sending me letters in comic sans (well, it was almost) it doesn't make me feel secure about my cash, or theoretical cash, at least.
There were some debt victims and buy to let wannabees on the radio a week or 2 ago who were talking about how the financial advisers got people into far more debt than they can ever pay by letting the FAs fill in the details for "self-declared" income. They were also jacking up property prices as reported to the Land Registry well above real transaction prices, so they could claim the borrowers had some equity when they didn't. Who knows how many in the industry were taking kickbacks for these claimed scams to work. Amazing what commissions can do in the money industry.
If this kind of dodgy practice has been extensive, Branson could find himself in above his neck by taking on this particular can of worms.
He's good at PR using his do-goody or daring stunts to improve the brand before he sells whichever pet project on and pockets the cash. The problems as Northern Rock while largely of their own making have been exacerbated by the banks looking for an easy target to carpetbag but the Northern Rock Foundation (remember this was a building society which had obligations to the savers and lenders who owned it) seems to be a stumbling block for any asset stripper looking for synergies (ie. outsource or delocalise as much as possible to reduce the wage bill and pocket the difference). Branson can step in as saviour to add to his halo and sell the thing on when markets have stabilised.
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