By Scott Wright

GLASGOW-based Virgin Money, owner of the former Clydesdale Bank, has declared its customers “aren’t yet showing signs of distress” as the cost-of-living crisis deepens.

Chief executive David Duffy said yesterday that the bank’s asset quality “remains resilient” as it reported growth in lending and customer numbers in the third quarter of its financial year. Mortgages were said by the bank to be stable at £57.8 billion.

The lender, formed by the merger of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks owner CYBG and Virgin Money first announced in 2018, said unsecured lending grew by 3.8 per cent in the quarter to £6bn. This was driven by “high-quality” credit card balances from “strong” new account growth, higher retail spending and new digital propositions.

Business loans edged up by 0.3% to £8.3bn in a “subdued” market and a 7.5% fall in Government-backed lending.

Virgin said credit quality continued to be “resilient”. Meanwhile, the bank said its net interest margin continued to be strong, boosted by higher interest rates.

Shares closed up 2.5%, or 3.6p, at 147.5p.

It started a major buyback with an initial re-purchase of £75m of shares in the quarter.

Mr Duffy said: “Looking out into an uncertain economic environment, while our asset quality remains resilient and customers aren’t yet showing signs of financial stress, we are helping our customers and colleagues navigate what will be a more difficult period for many.”

The bank’s view on the cost of living echoed comments from Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, who said on Friday that the owner of Royal Bank of Scotland was “not seeing any increase in distress, or debt, or calls coming in for help and support” as it unveiled a rise in first-half profits.