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Virgin One Account’s annual review

I just received my One Account annual review – It tells me how my mortgage is going and gives me advice on making best use of it.

When my bank – HSBC – calls me and offers me a ‘review’ to get the most out of my accounts with them, I know they are trying to sell me something and so I politely, or not so politely, decline.

When Richard Branson’s Virgin sold The One Account business to RBS I thought it was part of a depressing new trend for Virgin: use the founder’s charisma and undoubted commitment to customers to launch something and to attract a lot of customers. Then sell them to a big player. The ‘Virgin Countrywide’ trains that used to run through our local station suddenly became ‘Countrywide’ with no ‘Virgin’ on them, as the route had been sold. So, was there a pattern here, I wondered.

RBS always provided the banking behind The One Account, but Virgin provided the front-end branding, positioning, communications, and, most importantly, the values. Then Virgin sold the whole thing to RBS.

But, the One Account annual review stays true to Virgin’s original One Account. The opening letter says it is designed to help me make the most of my account. And it does. It includes tips on how to keep my outgoings down. It doesn’t try to sell me anything.

And, and, and…MOST interesting and revealing is that at the end of the list of bullet points on how to save money and get the most out of how the account is used, it says this:

“If you can think of anything else, then let us know and we’ll tell everyone.”

THAT is how 21st century suppliers should speak to customers – as equal partners speaking the same language and looking out for each others’ interests.

No other bank does that. So, I’ll be sticking with The One Account then. Looks like Virgin has infected RBS – this part of it at least.

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