Virgin Money lending up in Q1 assault on mortgage market

Virgin MoneyEdinburgh-based challenger bank Virgin Money has reported a 34 per cent jump in lending in the first quarter of the year as it continued to increase its share of the mortgage market.

The lender’s latest data for the first three months of the year showed that the group captured an estimated 3.6 per cent share of a declining market, with gross mortgage lending of £1.6billion in the period.

It has also started the current quarter with a strong pipeline due to the high number of mortgage applications received in the first quarter.

In March, Virgin targeted a market share above 3 per cent after achieving 3.1 per cent in the second half of last year.

Credit card balances stood at more than £1billion at the end of the quarter following the migration of about 675,000 MBNA credit card accounts in March.

The credit card business is now fully operational on Virgin’s own platform as the group targets £3billion of credit card balances by the end of 2018.

Roll-out of its Essential current account has now taken place across all its 75 stores, most of which were inherited following its Northern Rock takeover.

Virgin hopes the outcome of an ongoing competition investigation into the banking sector will leave it well placed to attract more current account business.

A statement accompanying the Q1 figures said: “We continue to challenge the barriers to entry and anticompetitive nature of the current account market.”

“While these conditions persist, we have limited our participation in the market and continue to build to be ready for the future.”

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