The business on...Anthony Thomson, Chairman, Metro Bank

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The Independent Online

Metro Bank? That's a new one on me.

It's a new one on everyone. Mr Thomson has spent the past two years raising the finance for the first launch of a new full-service bank in living memory and plans to open its doors next week.

Does the world really need another banker?

It depends on how you look at it. We may still feel a little bitter about the supposed financial whizz-kids who bought the global economy to its knees, but then maybe that's exactly why something a little different might appeal.

So how is Metro different?

In the jargon, it's about as "narrow" a bank as you can get. There'll be no borrowing or wholesale market funding – Mr Thomson simply plans to lend out about 75 per cent of the deposits savers make with him.

Where did he get that idea?

He's been talking to Vernon Hill, the American who founded the hugely successful Commerce Bank, which is run with a similarly conservative business model, for a decade now. The financial crisis focused minds and Mr Hill is on board as a backer.

Will it work?

Why don't you ask them? Messrs Thomson and Hill are planning to be there in person when they open the first Metro Bank branch in Holborn, central London, on Thursday.

What's in it for me?

Well, they promise a great service and they're planning to open as many as 200 branches within the next few years. Or you could just turn up for the free breakfasts that they are promising visitors to branch No 1 next week.

Anything else I should know?

Depends if you're a dog owner. If you are, then Mr Thomson's new bank could be the one for you. In a rather bizarre marketing gimmick, Metro is offering "a friendly welcome to dogs and their owners, with water bowls and dog biscuits on hand for man's best friend". You don't have to be barking to become a banker, but it just might help.