Last year saw the opening of the first new high street bank for 100 years, Metro Bank. The startup was founded by Anthony Thomson and Vernon Hill who founded Commerce Bancorp in the US. Craig Donaldson who was the former Managing Director at RBS is the CEO.
Metro Bank looks to capitalise on the feeling of resentment the public have for the big banks at the moment. Metro Bank is looking to compete with the bigger banks by providing unparalleled levels of customer service enticing customers with convenient opening times, open 7 days a week 361 days a year! As well as no security screens, free dog biscuits for pets and lollipops for children, 24 hour telephone/internet banking. A promise to answer calls by the third ring, cheque books and debit cards/credit cards available within 15 minutes and more.
Metro Bank received full capitalisation of £125 million through private funding from a variety of investors. They currently have 5 stores and are looking to expand quickly. Raising £125 million in an economic downturn and in a hated industry is an achievement where they are impressing by not lending more than 75% of its deposits – no leverage or money market risk for Metro Bank and therefore less risk for customers. They also place a high importance on having the right type of employees. Having the right attitude is more important than banking experience for those on the store floor.
Having past the Fulham Broadway store many times it certainly attracts your attention with it's glass front and marble floors, it stands out in Red, Blue and White. There are assistants greeting people with a smile as they enter and people always come out looking happy!
Metro bank came form the vision of an entrepreneur who saw an opportunity to shake up a market which was crying out for a new player. They have the dynamism and determination to take advantage of this.
It's a refreshing change to a stale industry and although their actual products don't offer anything new or interest rates that are any better than others etc... it's the service and convenience that will swing customers and they are bound to gain a huge amount of them with little sweeteners and especially after the recent backlash against banks. It will be interesting to see how they keep their customers in the long term, especially if customers can get better deals somewhere else, will exceptional service be enough?
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