Sir Richard Branson is indeed taking over the world. And now he may be taking over your money.
The billionaire Brit and founder of all things Virgin on earth — including Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Records, Virgin Mobile — and beyond, with Virgin Galactic aiming to talk regular folks into space — is this week pushing Virgin Money, the Virgin-branded bank that's taking over Northern Rock's 75 branches in the U.K. and 21,000 staff members for £747million ($948.3 million), according to the Mirror.
After the Northern Rock acquisition was announced, Virgin moved to add an annual £60 ($78) fee on every account, but then changed course and decided to offer it as an option, the Mail reports. As a sweetener, the bank will likely “offer perks such as discounts on Virgin flights or gym memberships,” the paper notes.
Branson made his bid for Northern Rock last October and finally got the keys to all the branches this week. Virgin has replaced Northern Rock as the shirt sponsor for the Premier League’s Newcastle F.C., although that will cost another £5 million ($6.35 million).
With four million customers, Virgin Money is still a smaller bank in the UK but the bank’s CEO, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, is aiming to double that figure. “We’re not going to be ankle-biters this time,” she told the Mirror. "We’re going to be a proper monster, shaking things up, creating real competition."
Shaking things up, of course, is Branson's specialty. This week he hosted a kick-off with 3D projection on the University of London's Senate House library, a 270-degree fully immersive architectural projection on the University of London's Senate House Library which was promoted, naturally, to Branson's 1.6 million Twitter followers. Just don't confuse Virgin Money with Branson’s yacht of the same name.