- Banking group Virgin Money UK swung to a first-half profit after a drop in bad debt charges offset a weaker operating income.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through March amounted to £72 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £7 million.

Underlying profit more than doubled to £245 million, up from £120 million, as impairment losses on credit exposures fell to £38 million, down from £232 million.

Underlying operating income fell 9% to £743 million.

'The quality of our loan book remained resilient in the period, and we've continued to support customers and look after our colleagues and communities, while safeguarding the bank,' chief executive David Duffy said.

'We are cautiously optimistic about the improving outlook as the impact of the vaccination programme in the UK delivers positive revisions to economic expectations,' he added.

Virgin Money UK said it expected a full-year net interest margin of around 1.60%, representing an improvement from 1.56% in the first half.

The company said it had experienced improved margin momentum, with its net interest margin in the second quarter rising to 1.60%.

Underlying operating expenses were expected to be about £890 million, reflecting the impact of Covid-19 restrictions and 'updated phasing'.

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