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Richard Branson receives financial backing from a surprise source

It has been revealed that Wilbur Ross, the Wall Street billionaire, is to take a 21% stake in Virgin Money at a cost of £100 million. This is Richard Branson's financial baby that he will use to try and crack the UK banking sector which has been dominated by the major players for too long. The move comes amid rumours that Richard Branson will bid around £2 billion for the 318 Royal Bank of Scotland branches which have been put for sale under European Union direction.

While there is also speculation that other banking operations may well be looking to acquire the branches in question the UK government is secretly hoping that a new player will emerge and break onto the high street and inject some much-needed competition into the UK banking arena. Richard Branson has a track record which few others can match and his flamboyant style of management, while not to the liking of everybody, has paid dividends for him in the past.

It would be interesting to see whether Richard Branson is able to raise the funds required to acquire the banking branches and indeed how he intends to break into the UK banking "closed shop" and give consumers and businesses in the UK much-needed alternatives.

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