Metro Bank (United Kingdom)

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For similarly named institutions, see Metrobank.
Metro Bank PLC
Type Public limited company
Industry Banking
Financial services
Founded 2010
Founders Vernon Hill
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people Vernon Hill
Craig Donaldson[1]
(Chief Executive Officer)
Products Credit Cards, Consumer Banking, Corporate Banking

Metro Bank PLC is a retail bank operating in the United Kingdom founded by Vernon Hill, with the aim of creating a revolution in British banking.[1]


Metro Bank, Sutton, London

Metro Bank PLC was granted its licence by the Financial Services Authority on 5 March 2010, the first high-street bank to be granted such a licence for over 150 years.[2]

Its first store (branch) opened in Holborn on 29 July 2010,[3] and its second in Earl's Court (Cromwell Road) on 3 September 2010. Subsequently branches have opened in Fulham Broadway, Borehamwood, Bromley, Croydon, High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, Chiswick High Road, Hounslow, Kensington High Street, Tottenham Court Road, Uxbridge, Reading, Berkshire, Hemel Hempstead, Romford, Sutton, Guildford, Slough, Ealing Broadway, Staines, Kingston upon Thames, Edgware, Windsor and Milton Keynes.


Metro Bank increased its account holders by 50% in the first half of 2013 for a total of 200,000 customer accounts, including 15,000 business accounts. The bank aims to have 25 branches open by the close of the 2013[4] and 200 UK branches by 2020.[5] Recent expansion includes the opening of a Guildford store in April 2013[6] and commencement of construction of a Cheapside store in July, which is due to open by the end of 2013.[7] In 2012 Forbes Magazine reported that Metro's flagship Holborn store had "...garnered $200 million in deposits, four times the total at the average mature American branch."[8]

In 2012, Metro Bank raised an additional $200 million in funding from notable investors, including Fidelity, Steven A. Cohen of hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, and New York real estate moguls the LeFraks and David and Simon Reubens. "Plenty of others wanted to bet on this unlikely campaign to revolutionize British banking, but couldn't get in before the coffers were full," Fortune reported.[8]

On 2 May 2013 the Daily Telegraph reported that, following a loss of £8.8 million in the first quarter of 2013, Metro Bank's pre-tax losses had exceeded £100 million in less than three years since its launch, but the bank states these are planned for[9] and "a result of its growth initiatives".[4] In an interview with the Financial Times, Hill said the bank was " line with the business plan to rapidly grow this company,” he added. "Our primary goal is to expand the business . . . and profit certainly will come."[10]

Metro had 850 employees in London by July 2013 and forecasts more than 1,000 London-based employees by the end of 2013.[4]


Metro Bank provides a full range of banking services to personal and business customers. It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The bank is licensed and regulated by the Office of Fair Trading for its consumer credit products.[11]

A Metro Bank debit card, credit card and cheque book issued in 2011

In addition to traditional banking services, the bank has a variety of non-traditional services, including:

  • Quoting a time of 15 minutes to open an account at a Metro store.[12]
  • A pet-friendly policy at stores, such as free dog biscuits and water for canine visitors. "Customers think that if we take care of their dogs then we will also take care of them," co-founder Vernon Hill has said of the practice.[13] The company offers a refund to customers who rehome a pet from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and is the official banking partner of The Kennel Club. Metro Bank also won the Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs Competition 2011.[14]
  • Coin counting machines for customers to sort and deposit change.[15]

Key personnel[edit]

Vernon Hill, Chairman, founded Commerce Bancorp (commonly known as Commerce Bank) in 1973. Starting from one office in Philadelphia, USA, it grew to have assets of US$50 billion and 500 offices throughout the eastern coast of the USA. Commerce Bank has received many consumer awards for best retail bank. It was bought by Toronto-Dominion Bank in 2007 for $8.5bn.

Hill received the Institute of Economic Affairs’ Free Enterprise Award in April 2013. The organisation cited him as "a remarkable entrepreneur who has identified a clear opportunity and entered the UK banking scene at a time when the sector has been under constant fire".[16] Previous winners include Margaret Thatcher and Sir Richard Branson.

Craig Donaldson, the Chief Executive Officer, started his career on the Barclays graduate scheme in 1995.[1] Later he worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland where he met Vernon Hill.[1] Together they decided to set up a UK equivalent to Commerce Bancorp. This idea grew into Metro Bank.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Chris Harlow, Metro Bank’s chief executive Craig Donaldson reveals what he looks for when hiring new talent, City A.M., 5 March 2013
  2. ^ "Computer says no". 22 July 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Metro Bank opens doors in UK". BBC News. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Winch, Jessica (29 July 2013). "Metro Bank reaches 200,000 customer accounts". The Telegraph (London). 
  5. ^ "Metro Bank to Have 200 U.K. Branches by 2020". Bloomberg TV. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Metro Bank brings the banking revolution to Guildford with opening of 17th Store". Metro Bank Press Release. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Metro Bank comes to the City". Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Tully, Shawn. "The bank that's rising amid Europe's ashes". Fortune. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Armitstead, Louise (28 April 2013). "Monday Interview: All-American shake-up comes to UK banking". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 20 August 2013. "Hill raised £250m from investors at the start and said it would take years to make a profit." 
  10. ^ Sakoui, Anousha. "Metro Bank plans expansion and listing". Financial Times. Pearson. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Metro Bank Online". Metro Bank PLC. May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013. "Metro Bank PLC. Registered in England and Wales. Company number: 6419578. Registered office: One Southampton Row, London, WC1B 5HA. In relation to our acceptance of deposits, provision of investment services, and arranging and administering regulated mortgage contracts Metro Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. In relation to our consumer credit business, Metro Bank PLC is licensed and regulated by the Office of Fair Trading and not by the Financial Conduct Authority." 
  12. ^ "New High Street bank Metro Bank debit cards 15 minutes". Daily Mail (London). 23 July 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Salmon, James. "CITY INTERVIEW: The Metro maverick who's teaching new tricks to old banks". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Dogs Rule". Metro Bank. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Armitstead, Louise (28 April 2013). "Monday Interview: All-American shake-up comes to UK banking". The Telegraph (London). 
  16. ^ "IEA awards Free Enterprise Award to Vernon Hill". Institute of Economic Affairs. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 

External links[edit]