Virgin Money Takes Big Haul In RBS Innovation Fund

Virgin Money Takes Big Haul In RBS Innovation Fund

Virgin Money said on Wednesday (Sept. 23) that it has landed the equivalent of $44.7 million from the United Kingdom’s Capability Innovation Fund, which was created as part of the Alternative Remedies Package that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – now NatWest – funded as a condition of receiving a government bailout after the global financial crisis.

“The grant means that businesses across the country will benefit from the development and enhancement of Virgin Money’s proposition, including scaling its successful regional franchise, more time with relationship managers and access to new digital technologies and services,” Virgin Atlantic stated in a news release on Wednesday.

The company stated that the funds will help to launch Virgin Money Business, which is scheduled to debut in 2021. The bank noted that the funds will help it become “a true disruptor in the SME banking market and offer U.K. customers a meaningful alternative to the incumbent banks.”

Virgin Atlantic’s stated commitments include: “attracting 100,000 new SME customers by the end of 2025 (including 20,000 by the end of 2022); increasing net lending to SMEs by an extra by an extra £2.2bn [$2.8 billion] by the end of 2025;” increasing the number of in-person bankers; expanding outside of London; and “ensuring that diversity and inclusion is at the heart of our culture for both business customers and colleagues.”

Gavin Opperman, group business director at Virgin Money, said in a prepared statement: “This grant award is an endorsement of the Group’s potential to shake up SME banking and a vote of confidence in our ability to invest in new capabilities. The grant will be used to accelerate our existing ambitious growth plans – we are investing in disruptive new capabilities and offering customers the best and most digitally advanced business bank across the country, alongside the globally iconic Virgin brand that’s synonymous with entrepreneurship and business growth.”

“This award will transform our business current account into a financial wellness tracker, combining dynamic views across an SME’s working capital cycle, with a set of working capital solutions,” he continued. “It will all be backed up by an unparalleled ecosystem of FinTech partners and proactive support from our first-class team of experienced relationship managers, enabling us to fulfill our ambition to help business owners realize their potential and achieve their dreams.”

The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that more than 60 companies applied for the grants. Richard Anderson, who chairs the group that oversees the remedies package, said: “It has been difficult to narrow the awards down to a small number of outstanding winners, and BCR looks forward to monitoring progress as they implement their programs.”