Metro bank raises £126m to expand


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The Independent Online

Metro Bank, the London-focused high street bank which opened in 2010, is set to spread its wings across the South-east after raising £126m to expand.

The bank, which has amassed 80,000 current and business accounts since its launch two years ago, is raising the cash from existing institutional and personal investors. It will use the money to open branches in Brighton, Reading, Hemel Hempstead, Romford, Staines and Epsom. These will add to the 12 outlets Metro Bank already has in the Greater London area.

It plans to have 200 outlets in Greater London by 2020.

"We have ambitious expansion plans and customer reaction to the Metro Bank marketing model means that we are confident in achieving our ambitions," a spokesman said.

Metro's expansion plans provide the latest example of increasing competition in the banking sector, in a development which will please the Government, which is keen to see a wider range of businesses offering banking services.

Last week, Marks & Spencer said it would begin offering bank accounts in its stores. The first of 50 M&S Bank branches scheduled to open over the next two years – with the creation of 200 jobs – will be in Marble Arch. The site is due to open its doors for business next month.

Tesco is also planning to launch its own current account next year, adding to a financial services offering that has so far attracted 6.5 million customers.

Metro Bank is seeking to distinguish itself from the competition by having longer opening hours than its rivals, with service in outlets available from 8am to 8pm on weekdays and for six hours a day at weekends.