"Has the word 'bank' been so discredited that a new name needs to emerge?" That's the question being asked by business mogul Richard Branson as he conducts a rebranding exercise for the prospective Virgin Money/Northern Rock banking business.
Virgin agreed a deal to acquire bailed out Northern Rock from the UK government for £747 million last week, creating a new high street bank boasting four million customers and 75 branches.
Branson is looking to capitalise on consumer disenchantment with the traditional banking establishment when he opens the doors to new customers in early 2012.
"Banking in the UK needs some fresh ideas and an injection of new competition," he stated when the deal was announced. "Virgin has a history of entering new sectors to improve service and provide value for customers. We plan to do the same in banking."
For more on the challenges facing non-banks entering the banking sector, see our report Tesco Bank and Virgin Money: Can Banking Without the Banks Work?