Virgin offloads Â£13m Church House bank
Virgin Money has completed the £13m sale of Church House Trust, the Somerset-based lender which provided it an entry into the retail banking sector almost five years ago.
Church House Trust, which is headquartered in Yeovil, offers a range of mortgage and savings products. It was bought by Virgin Money in early 2010 as it offered the platform to move into deposits and mortgages and boost the scale of its business.
However, the company has been viewed as peripheral following the acquisition of Northern Rock in 2012 and its flotation on the London Stock Exchange last month. Virgin Money, part owned by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, has since listed it as an asset "held for sale".
The buyer is Ocean Capital. It has now merged its operations with Church House Trust to form a group known as Bank and Clients.
The enlarged company will provide deposit taking services, savings products and specialist mortgages to existing and new clients, while also "pursuing business opportunities in corporate lending".
Sandy Flockhart, chairman of Bank and Clients, said: "The combination of the Ocean and Church House Trust businesses creates a strong organisation which draws upon the complementary skills of each firm."
Church House Trust had a net asset value of £24.2m at 30 June 2014 and made a loss after tax in the six months to 30 June 2014 of £500,000. An earlier deal to sell the business in late 2012 to SAV Credit, a credit card provider, collapsed.
Ashcombe Advisers and Aura Financial advised on the sale.