Virgin Money has opened its first store in
Guildford replacing an old Northern Rock branch, as the lender
plans to transform the entire 75-branches-strong Northern Rock
network across the UK to Virgin Money Stores.

The new Virgin Money store aims to provide a
“fresh approach to high street banking” and includes features such
as access to Virgin Money products, free use of WiFi, iPads and
iMacs and a no hard sell policy adopted by the staff members.

Kerry Merrington, manager of the new store in
Guildford, said:

“I am delighted to be able to welcome Virgin
Money customers to our first fully re-branded Store. The facilities
available to customers are very different to a normal bank

“As well as having access to all Virgin Money
and Northern Rock products, customers can simply come in, take the
weight off their feet, enjoy a cup of tea and use our free

In December 2011, Virgin Money, the banking arm of Richard
Branson’s Virgin empire, made its branch channel debut with design
consultancy allen international
roped in to create
stores designed to challenge the preconceptions of traditional
banking, with vibrant spaces that foster more relaxed interaction
between staff and customers. 

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By GlobalData

Virgin Money already has ‘lounges’ present in
Edinburgh, Norwich and Manchester – the design of wich has borrowed
visual elements from the retail concept.- and there are plans
to launch more.

allen international is working with Virgin to
adapt the store concept for the entire Virgin Money branch

As Virgin Money continues to roll out its
store concept to the high street, lounges will continue to provide
regional hubs for meetings, events and promotions in support of the
banking services offered in the stores.

There has been much hype about Virgin Money
breaking the mould of UK retail banking, following the completion
of its
successful deal to acquire bailed out Northern Rock from the UK
government for £747m ($1178.98m)
in November 2011.