Metro Bank gets green light for London roll-out
A new bank set up by an American entrepreneur has been given the green light by the city watchdog to become the first high street bank to open in the UK for more than 150 years.
Metro Bank – which is already promoting its 'Love Your Bank' philosophy across various buildings in London – has been granted a full service banking licence by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The first two Metro Bank branches will open in the second quarter of 2010 at One Southampton Row, Holborn, and on the corner of Cromwell Road and Earls Court Road in South Kensington.
The next two branches will open at Fulham Broadway and Borehamwood, Hertfordshire.
Metro Bank intends to build a network of more than 200 branches in Greater London over the next 10 years.
Anthony Thomson, chairman of Metro Bank, says the new bank will be open seven days a week and serve both business customers and consumers.
“With the FSA authorisation of Metro Bank we are entering a new era of banking, one where we go back to a more traditional banking model where customer service is key and there is deposit-based lending,” he adds.
The bank also promises to offer online banking and a 24/7 London-based customer call centre. Other claims include rapid opening procedure and 15-minute issuance of permanent debit and credit cards.
Deposits will also be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Metro Bank will serve the banking needs of the consumer and business communities beginning with two branches in London.
Vernon Hill, co-founder and vice chairman of Metro Bank, says: “At Metro Bank the customer is king and our goal is to reinvent British banking by building fans not customers.”
The Financial Services Authority is an independent non-governmental body, given a wide range of rule-making, investigatory and enforcement powers in order to meet its four statutory objectives: market confidence (maintaining confidence in the UK financial system), financial stability, consumer protection and the reduction of financial crime. The FSA receives no government funding and is funded entirely by the firms it regulates, but is accountable to the Treasury and, ultimately, parliament.