Northern Rock sale to Virgin Money should shake up high street banking
Today's news that the public owned Northern Rock bank has been sold to Virgin Money should bring more competition to the market, benefiting consumers trying to get the most for their money says uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.
Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, says: "Virgin is already a powerful online brand with a loyal customer base, but now it could become a real contender on the high street. By combining the best of Northern Rock's competitive mortgages and savings products with its credit cards, consumers could see a new bank on their high street that can really challenge the existing ones.
"Consumers should benefit from a wider range of mortgages, savings and insurance and hopefully enjoy additional Virgin benefits such as discounts on wine and holidays. Existing Virgin customers could also end up better off if Virgin comes out fighting - its savings rate is just 0.1%, compared to Northern Rock's more generous 2.8%.
"A serious player like Virgin entering the marketplace could change the banking landscape on the high street, increasing competition and choice. With Tesco Bank and Metro Bank in the South East, banking in 2012 is set to become more rewarding for consumers. On top of this, no jobs will be lost during the acquisition and there are even plans for an increase in the number of branches."