North East lender Virgin Money has reported record performance in a year in which underlying pre-tax profits more than doubled to £121.2m.
The Newcastle-headquartered business, which made its debut on the London Stock Exchange last year, said its full year profits for the year ended December 31 2014 increased by 127% as it sold more mortgages.
Mortgage balances increased to £21.9bn – up 11.8% against market growth of 1.4% – while credit card balances also soared by 41% to £1.1bn.
Progress made on the stock exchange in 2014 is expected to lead to the firm’s entry to the FTSE 250 on March 20, the firm reported.
The retail bank, which is part-owned by Sir Richard Branson, also reported statutory profit before tax of £34m, despite costs associated with the Initial Public Offering and payment of additional consideration for Northern Rock plc to HM Treasury following the successful listing on the London Stock Exchange.
As well as delivering a strong corporate performance, the bank's not-for-profit Virgin Money Giving service helped people give £88m to charities in 2014, including Gift Aid.
Staff members are also set to benefit from the firm’s “landmark” year, as chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia, outlined.
She said: “I am delighted to report a 127% increase in underlying profit for 2014 which ended the year at £121.2m.
“We have made great progress against our objectives to achieve strong growth, maintain our high-quality balance sheet and deliver returns to shareholders.
“We set out to be a credible and effective challenger to the large incumbent banks and I believe we have laid an excellent foundation on which to realise our ambition.
“We now rank in the top six of all UK net mortgage lenders and are among the highest rated retail banks in the UK by Net Promoter Score.
“We aim always to live up to the consumer champion ethos of the Virgin brand and our conservative approach to risk and strong financial performance go hand in hand with our commitment to serve the needs of customers and communities.
“Following the progress made in 2014 I am pleased to report that we expect to be admitted to the FTSE 250 on March 20 2015.
“Our staff are at the heart of Virgin Money and I would like to thank them for their hard work throughout what has been a landmark year for the business.
“I am pleased we are able to reward all eligible employees with a share in success bonus on top of their normal bonus awards, to add to the £1,000 of shares that all employees received on listing.”