A national advertising campaign aimed at supporting intermediaries, a culture of challenging the norm – and why it can be sensible to keep one’s mouth shut
Virgin Money has launched a national ad campaign to promote intermediaries. Can you tell us more about your motivation for this?
At Virgin Money, we are building our mortgage business around our intermediary partnerships. When our intermediary partners thrive, so do we, and in many ways our motivation for this campaign is to demonstrate just how committed we are in supporting them.
In the past 12 months we have redoubled our efforts to build true partnerships. That is why we pay out £100 if we do not get a fully packaged application to offer in under 10 days, for example. It is also why we have created marketing programmes designed to actively help our partners. We have also created remortgage and first-time buyer campaigns to help our intermediary partners spot and create sales opportunities, backed by dedicated sales aids and tools to help conversion.
But this advertising campaign is taking our support one step further: we are putting our money where our mouth is. We are different from other lenders that see intermediaries more as a helpful source of additional volume when the branch network and direct channel cannot deliver the lending volume required.
That is not true of Virgin Money. Our business is built around the intermediary channel, so what better way to demonstrate our commitment than investing our direct marketing budget to promote the benefits of independent advice from our intermediary partners? We will be channelling leads, who may otherwise have stuck with other high-street lenders, straight to our partners.Overall, our campaign demonstrates to our partners just how serious we are about our support of the intermediary channel.
What has the feedback been like from brokers on this?
Feedback has been excellent. I think, because brokers can see we are being genuine in our intent to support them, they are supportive of us. The fact that we work with our partners, invite them into the business and seek their input on a variety of projects gives us confidence that what we deliver, and how we deliver it, will be well received.
What else can brokers expect from Virgin Money this year?
We are focused on continuing to build out our proposition for our partners. This is just the beginning – there is more to come in the weeks and months ahead and we hope that what we bring to market will be equally well received.
As a child, what was your dream job?
I always loved science and was intrigued by the whole concept of travelling into outer space, so putting those two together meant I wanted to be a rocket scientist.
If you were not in your current role, what would you like to be doing?
I have worked with Virgin Money in banking for nearly 20 years and there is nothing else I want to do, so I have not thought about it. I am not sure how I would follow this experience; I suspect it would be something totally different. Maybe I would revisit my rocket scientist ambition.
Do you have any secret talents?
I was a chorister as a child and I like to think I can still carry a tune when needed, especially when I cut loose and sing along to my favourite tracks in the car. Unfortunately, my family do not always agree with my self-assessment.
What is the best advice you have received?
“It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it.” I always try to have something worthwhile to say and, as the Virgin Money culture embraces challenging the norm, developing new ideas and standing out from the crowd, there are always plenty of things to have an opinion about.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
Peter Gabriel. I loved his music when I was younger and I still love it now. I also wanted to learn about the causes he cared about and it introduced me to a different world that I am not sure I would have found any other way.
Year established: 1995
Address: Jubilee House, Gosforth
Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 4PL
Tel: 0191 285 7191
Virgin Money offers savings, mortgages, credit cards, current accounts, currency services, pensions, investments and protection products. It has over 3 million UK customers through a range of channels, including intermediaries, online and mobile, contact centres, a national network of stores and six customer lounges. Virgin Money acquired Northern Rock Plc in 2012 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2014.