Virgin Money lending rises ahead of planned London listing

LONDON (Reuters) - Virgin Money, the UK challenger bank planning to list in London this year, said it increased mortgage lending and took more deposits from savers in the third quarter.

Virgin said in a trading update on Friday its mortgage completions in the July-September period were 19 percent higher than the average in the previous two quarters, and its mortgage book had increased by 3 percent to 20.9 billion pounds during the three months.

The company does not release quarterly results, but said profitability improved during the third quarter.

Virgin Money had planned to list in London this month, but said two weeks ago it was delaying the process due to difficult market conditions.

It is still expected to list - possibly in November - and news on Friday that the Bank of England was imposing less stringent new capital rules on lenders than had been expected could make it more attractive to investors.

British bank shares rallied after the leverage ratio rules were announced, and Virgin said its leverage ratio of 3.8 percent meant it was operating in excess of the new proposals.

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Pravin Char)