British billionaire Richard Branson said he may open bank branches at train stations on the main rail route between London and Scotland after his Virgin Money Holdings U.K. Ltd. agreed to buy Northern Rock PLC.
Branson is considering drawing on his expanding finance business as he seeks to retain the West Coast franchise that transports 30 million passengers a year between the U.K. capital and the cities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester.
Branson agreed to buy Northern Rock last month for 747 million pounds ($1.17 billion), marking the first sale of a bank bailed out by the British government since the 2008 financial crisis. The deal, scheduled for completion on Jan. 1, will bring the online and phone-only Virgin Money its first retail branches and 1 million more customers, lifting the total to 4 million.
"Opening in stations where people are waiting for trains, and can go and hang out in their branch if they want is quite a clever concept," said Christopher Wheeler, a Mediobanca analyst.