Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money launched the next stage of its US expansion, with a novel new service enabling friends and families to lend to each other. Earlier this year Virgin Money had acquired CircleLending, a specialist financial services company that pioneered a business model through which family members or friends can lend money to one another at agreed rates of interest. Through CircleLending, Virgin Money will administer and manage the loans, arranging collateral, interest deductions and repayments, with the rate charged typically 2 to 3 percentage points below what the borrower could find in the commercial sector. In return, Virgin Money USA earns an up-front fee plus ongoing charges, with fees starting from $100 for a personal loan and rising to $699 for a mortgage. More in the Independent UK.