FSA grants licence to Metro Bank

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City watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has granted a banking licence to Metro Bank – which is set to become Britain’s first new high street lender for more than a century.

Metro Bank, which is backed by US billionaire and former Commerce Bank owner Vernon Hill, is planning to open two branches in central London in the next few months.

Furthermore, the bank is proposing to build a network of more than 200 branches over the next decade.

The new bank is hoping to take advantage of the lack of confidence in existing banks by attracting disillusioned customers, according to reports.

Anthony Thomson, Metro Bank chairman, said: “The banking environment was fundamentally changed following the credit crunch, and we have seen seismic changes in the retail UK banking industry as a result.

“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,a�? added Mr Thomson.

The bank also said: “A friendly welcome to dogs and their owners, with water bowls and dog biscuits on hand for man’s best friend – dogs rule at Metro Bank!”

The announcement comes just a couple of months after Sir Richard Branson obtained a banking licence by buying regional bank Church House Trust via its Virgin Money brand.

Furthermore, supermarket giant Tesco is also set to expand into the banking industry.

Tesco Bank already offers credit cards, savings accounts and insurance via its Tesco Personal Finance (TPF) brand and it has announced plans to offer mortgages in the near future.

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