London-based Metro Bank plans to use a £126m funding injection to expand across the capital and entice more businesses to join its banking revolution.
Metro Bank, which launched with four branches in Greater London in 2010, hopes to add a further seven stores to its current total of 12 in the capital by the end of the year.
It has targeted forming a stronghold in London and the South East by growing to 200 branches by 2020.
Metro Bank currently has 80,000 personal and business accounts, while it has been particularly pleased with the amount of custom it has received from companies.
Beth Murray, a spokesperson for the bank, said: “Business banking has completely outperformed our expectations, and business lending makes up over half of our lending book.
“Businesses have really responded to the Metro Bank model of local bankers making local loans.
“They appreciate having a local business manager who understands their business, believes in relationship banking and most importantly has the power to make common sense lending decisions.”
Murray believes the way companies want their banks to communicate with them has changed and Metro Bank has been able to take advantage of this.
“Businesses are fed up of being sold to, but not listened to. We’ve won some very large corporate banking contracts, as a result of simply providing excellent, tailored business banking,” said Murray.
The new branch openings in 2012 will increase Metro Bank’s employee headcount to 700 by the end of the year.
It has set itself out from the other banks on the high street by keeping retail opening hours. Branches are open seven days of the week and busy businesspeople can make use of opening hours from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday.
The approach is similar to that of Commerce Bank in the US. It was founded by Vernon Hill in 1973 and he has lent his backing to Metro Bank.
Chief executive Craig Donaldson told The Sunday Times: “The capital raise will further strengthen our growth plans and build on our firm foundation.
“We have ambitious expansion plans, and customer reaction to the Metro Bank model means that we are confident in achieving our ambitions.
“Londoners are flocking to us to open accounts and we’ve been blown away by local reaction to our style of community banking.”
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