Virgin Money is expanding its partnership with digital coaching company, Life Moments, to capture the data needed to provide Sustainability Linked Loans, which will form part of the Virgin Money offer to business banking customers.
The agreement is the latest partnership from Virgin Money as it continues to develop its working capital health proposition, which will be launched in the Autumn. This will transform the Bank’s existing business current account and forms part of its commitment relating to the recent £35m award from the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Capability and Innovation Fund.
Life Moments is a leading provider of digital coaching propositions and tools to improve customer experience and generate data insight. The company has worked with the Bank since early 2020, developing and launching Virgin Money’s Home Buying Coach app, designed to simplify the home purchase process and help first time buyers on to the property ladder. The company will now work on digitising and capturing customer responses to an ESG benchmarking tool, developed by the Bank in conjunction with Future-Fit Business, as well as integrating the results and data into the Bank’s new Business Current Account Wellness Tracker, providing tailored digital coaching for businesses.
Virgin Money, which joined the Future-Fit Development Council last year, is the first company in the financial services industry to use the Future-Fit Benchmark for commercial banking. The tool, which can be used by any business of any size, whether they are a Virgin Money customer or not, has a user-friendly set of questions to help a company understand its current position, via both an ESG score and guidance on the steps that could be taken to create a more sustainable model.
The agreement is also expected to contribute towards Virgin Money’s recently launched ESG commitments and aspirations, including at least halving its carbon emissions across everything it finances by 2030. Within business banking, and part of its BCR commitments, it will increase lending by an extra £2.2Bn by the end 2025 (£0.5Bn by end of 2022), with more than £100M of new lending going to clients pursuing environmental, social and governance aims.
Gavin Opperman, Group Business Director at Virgin Money, said: “Sustainability is a key element of our new working capital health proposition. Life Moments has brought exciting innovation into our mortgage business, so it was a natural progression to invite them to collaborate on enhancing our Benchmarking Tool and support our ambition to help our customers on all aspects of their ESG journey. We have created a strong base but there is more to do, which is why this partnership with Life Moments is so important the development of our new business current account.”
Ben Leonard, CEO and Co-founder of Life Moments, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to extend our partnership with Virgin Money and apply digital coaching to business banking. We see many similarities between the support & nurturing we have developed with Virgin Money for first time buyers and how to help small business owners so are confident this will enhance the business banking proposition. Being able to apply our platform technology to helping businesses embed sustainability is extremely exciting for us and aligns perfectly with our profit & purpose mission.”
Graeme Sands, Corporate and Mid-Market Director at Virgin Money, said: “All businesses, whatever their size or industry, should be thinking about their approach to sustainability, ensuring that any future growth strategy takes into consideration the ESG impact of their operations. This isn’t an easy task, but those that do so often find new opportunities and we are committed to working with our customers and partners, like Life Moments, to provide the support and insight that allows them to work towards becoming a more sustainable business.”
The current beta version of the Benchmarking Tool can be found here.
The deal with Life Moments was signed on Friday, 26 February 2021.