What if banking wasn’t so confusing? The story of Virgin Money
As an entrepreneur I’m often asked where ideas come from. I’ve always asked ‘what if’ questions and have found they have sparked many great business ideas. One that came as almost a surprise was Virgin Money – what if we could start a bank that people enjoyed banking with? What if we could simplify banking?
We started Virgin Money in the UK in 1995, and it was quite different territory for us. By then Virgin had successfully launched Virgin Records and Virgin Atlantic and we were ready for a new challenge.
However, I wasn’t completely sold at first. But the Virgin ethos is about disruption, innovation and putting customer experience at the heart of all we do. I tried to come at it from a different perspective – what if we could make banks less confusing? What if we could get rid of the financial jargon, red tape and make it an enjoyable experience? What if we could change the way people thought about banks?
When I thought about it like this, it made perfect sense. It was a chance to change a stagnant industry and provide customers with much-needed competition. And so, we introduced Virgin Money to the world, with me dressed in a pinstripe suit and a bowler hat. Our mission? To make people happier about money. We set out to make banking accessible and understandable. I’m so proud of everything the team has achieved.
One of my favourite things about Virgin Money is it doesn’t look or feel like a bank - from the website through to the bubbly team members. I’m also proud of the way Virgin Money prioritises its people and has a strong commitment to making everyone feel included. You should be able to be yourself at work – even if you work at a bank! Virgin Money has introduced its fully flexible people package called A Life More Virgin, which includes policies such as gender-neutral family leave. It’s great to see how Virgin Money has created a working environment that allows its colleagues freedom of flexibility beyond what a lot of companies can offer.
As well as thriving in the UK, Virgin Money is also Down Under with Virgin Money Australia. It’s also great to see Virgin Money teaming up with our loyalty club, Virgin Red, to give people the chance to access brilliant offers you can’t get anywhere else. I love it when the Virgin family comes together.
It’s brilliant to see what has come out of a what if question. Sometimes you might need a different perspective to help you unlock its potential, but it’s your passion that will lead you to form the business you truly care about.