Virgin Money announces bank sale

Virgin MoneyA regional bank used by Virgin Money in its assault on the UK retail banking market is to be bought by credit card provider SAV Credit.

Church House Trust, which is a specialist mortgage and savings bank based in Yeovil, Somerset, has been owned by Virgin since 2010.

But in the wake of its acquisition of Northern Rock branches from the Government in 2011, Virgin has entered into a sale agreement with SAV Credit in a deal due to be completed in the first half of next year.

SAV Credit is also viewing Church House as a platform for growth into other product areas, having built up a credit card business with around 500,000 accounts and £500 million in assets.

It is planning to ramp up competition in the savings market with "simple and consistently competitive products", whilst enabling it to expand its funding base for further growth.

Chief executive James Corcoran said: "The acquisition of Church House Trust is a very significant step forward in the ongoing development of SAV Credit from its core credit card business."

Church House traces its history back as far as 1792, when West Country solicitor Edmund Batten founded private bank Batten & Co alongside his legal practice.

This bank was swallowed up by a series of mergers but the partners of Battens solicitors formed the Church House Trust in 1987 to handle the financial needs of private clients. It is thought to have a customer base of around 1,300 depositors.
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