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Vernon W. Hill II (born August 18, 1945) is the the co-founder and vice chairman of Metro Bank. He is the founder and former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Commerce Bancorp and Commerce Bank of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is credited as a leading exponent of a retail banking model that relies on service rather than interest rates to attract customer and deposits.[1]

Commerce Bancorp[edit]

Hill founded Commerce Bancorp in 1973, basing its business model on that of the Burger King restaurants that he had once owned. Commerce Bank became one of the fastest-growing banks in the country.

Hill earned $54.2-million (U.S.) in salary, bonus, and profit from stock options from 2002 to 2006, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

On June 29, 2007, Hill was forced to resign as Chairman and CEO of Commerce Bancorp after the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the board of directors of Commerce Bancorp established governance to stop doing business with firms under the control of his family. Notable business dealings with insiders included property leases with entities in which Hill was a partner, and the purchase of services from an architectural design business run by his wife, Shirley.[1]

The company appointed three executives to replace Hill, naming Dennis DiFlorio chairman, Robert Falese president and CEO, and Douglas Pauls Chief Financial Officer.

On October 2, 2007, Commerce Bancorp announced that it would be merging with TD Bank Financial Group. The Canadian-based Toronto-Dominion Bank would acquire Commerce for $8.5 billion (U.S. dollars) in cash and stock, at $35 per share of CBH stock. Some people suggested that Hill's departure, as well as a strong Canadian dollar, had made a takeover inevitable. [2]

Hill-Townsend Capital[edit]

On November 27, 2007 Vernon Hill announced that he is teaming up with veteran analyst Gary B. Townsend on the venture, to be called Hill-Townsend Capital. The firm, which will be based in Chevy Chase, Md., will invest in the financial services sector, particularly in mid-cap bank stocks with assets of about $1 billion to $10 billion. Hill-Townsend will "concentrate on long-horizon investment in companies with superior, easily understood business models, run by passionate, dedicated management teams," a news release said.

Metro Bank[edit]

Metro Bank UK launched in July 2010, with Hill as co-founder and vice chairman and co-founder Anthony Thomson as chairman. Press commentary at the time reflected on the "challenger" positioning of Metro's brand - being the first high-street bank to open in the United Kingdom for more than 100 years - and upon Hill's belief that the lack of competition in British banking had left UK consumers under-served. At launch Thomson observed that the contemporary business strategy of traditional British banks was to encourage customers away from visiting high street branches, in the belief that those customers wanted lower charges and lower service levels, whereas Metro Bank had set out to actively attract customers back into branches, much as a retailer might. [2] Forbes Magazine described Metro as "aiming to disrupt a storied industry dominated by a handful of established players".[3]

In an April 2011 speech to the Financial Services Club in London, Hill commented on market research showing that few UK banking customers would recommend their bank to a friend, and that both Lloyds and Barclays had negative net promoter scores overall:

"If I was Lloyds or Barclays, I would climb under the table seeing these numbers. I've never seen negative net promoter numbers before in my life. I don't even know how you can get negative net promoter numbers. What are you doing?"

Prior to the 2010 launch, Hill and Metro's co-founder and chairman Anthony Thomson had discussed importing the Commerce bank formula into the UK for over a decade[4]. The pair spent a further two years securing a £75m launch investment, including funds from New York real estate developer Richard LeFrak, property investors the Reuben brothers and Fidelity, the fund management company.[5] Metro launched with plans to open 200 branches in London by 2020.[6] A further 12 branches were opened by December 2010. In June 2012 the company announced the completion of a £126m round of capital-raising to open further branches in London, inlcuding funds from Moore Capital and billionaire investor Steve Cohen.[7][8]

Other investments[edit]

Hill also owns several Burger King franchises and is a partner in Interstate Commercial, formerly Site Development Inc. and several other holding and development enterprises. Hill founded and helped design one of the top golf courses in the USA, Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway Township, New Jersey.

Business philosophy[edit]

In numerous interviews, Hill has expressed his preference for growing his businesses not via acquisition but via customer loyalty, summarised in his "Fans, Not Customers" maxim.

Personal Life[edit]

He earned a BS in economics with a concentration in finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1967.

Hill's 46,000 ft² (4,270 m²) mansion Villa Collina — Italian for "Hill House" — the largest private residence in New Jersey, is located in Moorestown Township, New Jersey.[9] He resides there with wife Shirley Hill, owner of the InterArch design firm and their dog.

In 2005, Vernon and his wife, Shirley Hill, donated $10 million dollars for a new building at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Vernon's alma mater. The building is called the Vernon and Shirley Hill Pavilion.[10]

In 2003, he was named to the PoliticsPA "Power 50" list of politically influential individuals, saying that he "heads one of Pennsylvania's fastest growing banks, and more importantly, gets the game when it comes to politics- earning a spot on the list. Hill plays to both Republicans and Democrats, and gets what he wants."[11]


  1. ^ Lambert, Emily (03). "Whopper Banking". Forbes. Retrieved 21 August 2012. Paying less than competitors for savings deposits (1% versus a 1.2% weighted average for its competitors), Commerce manages to get a 4.7% spread on its money, compared with 4.4% for the industry.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  2. ^ "Metro Bank opens doors in UK". Retrieved 21 August 2012. Metro Bank hopes to gain customers dissatisfied with their existing banks. 
  3. ^ Olson, Parmy (11th). "Vernon Hill Beefs Up 'Whopper Banking' In London". Retrieved 21 August 2012. Having opened his first British store last July in Holborn, London, Hill has come to Britain with a similar mandate to offer customers good service over good interest rates, and promising "no stupid bank rules."  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  4. ^ Baird, Roger (9th). "The late-night bank manager is planning a High Street revolution". City A.M. Retrieved 21 August 2012. His partner in the UK is Anthony Thomson, Metro Bank’s chairman and a City veteran with 27 years experience. He has been trying to convince Hill to transfer the customer-centric business model to the UK for years; Hill finally agreed after he sold up in the US.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  5. ^ Bates, Victoria (1st). "Metro Bank taps investors for £45m to speed up expansion". City A.M. Retrieved 21 August 2012.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  6. ^ Baird, Roger (9th). "The late-night bank manager is planning a High Street revolution". City A.M. Retrieved 21 August 2012. Metro Bank plans to open another three branches in Earl’s Court, Fulham Broadway and Borehamwood by the end of the year, and eight more next year. The aim is to have 200 branches in Greater London by 2020. It plans to open 10,000 current accounts in its first year.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  7. ^ Dunne, John. "Metro Bank eyes expansion after raising £50m". City A.M. Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Edwards, Peter (11th). "Float looms for growing Metro". City A.M. Retrieved 21 August 2012.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date=, |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  9. ^ Smith, Eileen and Walsh, Jim. "Hill's climb took bank to heights of industry", Asbury Park Press, June 30, 2007. Accessed July 25, 2007. "Hill and his wife Shirley built Villa Collina, literally Hill House, a 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2) Tuscan-style mansion in Moorestown that is the biggest private residence in the state."
  10. ^ Distefano, Joseph N. "Commerce Bancorp chairman gives $10 million to veterinary school.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 1, 2005. Accessed October 16, 2007. "Penn said that the Hills have given $10 million to the vet school toward a $70 million classroom and office center that Penn will call the Vernon and Shirley Hill Pavilion."
  11. ^ "Power 50". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2003. Archived from the original on 2004-04-17. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Platt, Larry (August 2001). [3]
  • Shiffman, John (June 2007). [4]

Category:1946 births

Category:Living people

Category:Commerce Bancorp

Category:Wharton School alumni

Category:People from Moorestown Township, New Jersey