The Northern Rock company has been a part of the North East family for just over 160 years, and it is in the early hours of 2012 that we’re to bid farewell to the home grown company, and welcome Virgin Money.
Northern Rock Building Society (1965) was the result of an amalgamation of two of the largest building societies in the North East – the Northern Counties Permanent Building Society (est. 1850) and the Rock Building Society (est.1865).
After many years operating solely as a building society NR became a fully recognised bank in 1997, since however the company’s has been through a lot. In 2007 NR was forced to apply for funding support from the Bank of England, and as a result in 2008, it became a PLC shortly after the birth of the ‘British recession’.
On 1 January 2012 the bank is to be bought by Richard Branson’s Virgin Money brand for an estimated £747m up front, with potential further payments of over £200m.
On 15 December the Newcastle upon Tyne based HQ hosted a bespoke evening for its staff, in commemoration of the company’s history, and to welcome its new operator.
The decor included fifteen large banners depicting and explaining the history of NR, and its evolutions from separately owned businesses to the banking giant we know it as today.
Guest appearances from Northern Rock sponsored Newcastle United stars, Cheik Tiote and David Santon, fuelled the already buzzing crowd with more of a reason for excitement. In addition a well practiced and composed string quartet performed over the evening, giving the event more of a bespoke and chic overall.
As the staff began to filter out from ‘The Street’, in the Northern Rock HQ, it’s evident that all are content with the brands sale.