Profits leap at Virgin Money

Richard Branson floated Virgin Money on London's main market in 2014,

Richard Branson floated Virgin Money on London's main market in 2014,

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​Lender Virgin Money said full​ ​year underlying pre​-​tax profit rose 53 per​ ​cent, helped by growth in its core mortgages, savings and credit card businesses which outpaced the market.

The bank, which listed on London's main market in 2014, said it would increase credit card balances to at least ​£​3​bn by the end of 2017, a year earlier than it anticipated.

Credit card balances rose 44 per​ ​cent to ​£​1.6​bn in the year.

Underlying pre​-​tax profit rose to ​£​160.3​m for the year ​to Dec​ember​ 31 from ​£​104.8​m a year earlier. Underlying net interest margin increased to 165 basis points from 150 basis points in 2014.

Virgin Money, which counts itself among the bigger "challenger" banks in Britain, said gross mortgage lending rose 29 per​ ​cent to ​£​7.5​bn in the year​, reflecting the buoyant housing market in 2015.

Mortgage balances rose 16 per​ ​cent to ​£​25.5​bn versus market growth of 1.8 per​ ​cent, the company said.

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