Virgin Money – challenger bank, full stack Fintech, or re-branded old bank?

Millenials want choice. Their parents might have been OK with the a few big old banks, but if you grow up with everything that you want being a click away, the world looks different.

Virgin Money is coming to IPO. Other challenger banks are in the wings. Full Stack Fintech (digital first ventures that sell to consumers and are regulated like a bank) will be watching this closely as well.

Virgin Money will become the public market comparable for all of them. Mr. Market will soon give his verdict on Virgin Money. If Mr. Market gives a high multiple to Virgin Money expect to see more challenger banks (such as Aldermore and Atom) line up for the public markets. That will lead to some Full Stack Fintech ventures raising large pre-IPO rounds.

If Mr. Market gives a low multiple to Virgin Money, Eeyore will be heard muttering gloomily:

“it is just old wine in new bottles, nothing changes, nobody will replace the big old banks”.

I hope Mr. Branson understands the hopes and dreams riding on this.

I will be looking for two things in the Virgin Money financials:

  • Fundamentally lower costs
  • Lower fees and interest rates for consumers

If I don’t see those two, you might find me nodding along to Eeyore’s gloomy muttering.

 

 

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