Richard Branson's Virgin Money has made a £500,000 donation to the Northern Rock Foundation.
The half-million pound boost to the charity comes as Virgin Money begins to see a continued performance improvement.
For the first time since acquiring Northern Rock last year, the business has returned to a position of profitable trading on a monthly basis.
As a result, Virgin Money decided to make the donation to show its continued support to the foundation, the charitable arm of the former Northern Rock which has backed good causes across the North East.
When it bought the Newcastle-based bank last year, Virgin Money said it would honour the existing agreement between Northern Rock and the Foundation until the end of 2013 of giving a donation of 1% of pre-tax profits relating to the previous year.
Due to the loss-making state of the business there was no guarantee of any money, but bosses at Virgin Money decided to go ahead with a donation to show the foundation its support.
Foundation Chairman Alastair Balls said: “We are delighted that Virgin Money, our corporate donor, has recently made a donation of £0.5m to contribute to our work in 2013 and we continue to discuss with them how we can work together in future.”
Northern Rock was sold to Virgin Money on January 1 last year in a £747m deal which includes 75 branches and 2,100 staff, a million customers, a £14bn mortgage book and retail deposits worth £16bn.
Brian Giles, Virgin Money’s head of communications said: “We were delighted to make this £0.5m contribution towards the Foundation’s excellent work here in the North East and Cumbria.
“Our existing agreement with the Foundation is based on a donation of 1% of pre-tax profits relating to the previous year and while Virgin Money is now performing strongly, by the end of 2012 we had not made a profit.
“However, our performance improvement continues and we have returned to a position of profitable trading on a monthly basis, so we still thought it important to make this gesture in 2013, as a sign of our support for the Foundation and the region as a whole.
“Virgin Money and the Foundation continue to work together to agree how we will work together beyond the end of 2013.”
The Foundation gives grants to organisations which help people who are vulnerable, disadvantaged, homeless, living in poverty or are victims of crime or discrimination in the North East and Cumbria.
From January 2011 the Foundation was supported by Northern Rock plc through a funding agreement to provide 1% of pre-tax profits. As part of the sale of Northern Rock plc to Virgin Money, which was completed on January 1 last year, it was confirmed that Virgin Money would extend the existing commitment, in respect of the Northern Rock business, until the end of 2013.