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Metro Bank plans to wow customers

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by Kay Mitchell

Metro Bank, which is Britain’s first new high street lender for more than a century, opened its doors today in Holborn, central London.

The bank welcomed dogs with a bowl of water and a bone and offered their owners free breakfast.

Dog lover, US billionaire and former Commerce Bank owner, Vernon Hill, said “dogs rule at Metro Bank!”

Meanwhile, it aims to make banking a “fun retail experience” and is focusing on shop hours by opening seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, 8am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

It will only close on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

The bank is opening another branch in Earls Court next month and is proposing to build a network of more than 200 branches over the next decade.

Each branch will have toilets and free coin-counting machines.

Accompanied by his pet dog Duffy, Mr Hill told Reuters today: “We’re in the business of turning customers into fans.”

Currently, the banking sector is monopolised by the “Big four” banks but Metro Bank said it will employ more cashiers than the big four, while keeping its call centre in London.

It said its call centre will aim to pick up a call on the second ring every time.

Craig Donaldson, chief executive of Metro Bank, told Sky News: “We’re going to win customers by wowing them.”

However, there was much criticism after one analyst said the bank’s mortgage and savings products are not competitive enough to enter the best-buy tables.

It is, though, charging interest of 13% on credit card purchases and cash advances, which is better than the industry average of 18.5% for purchases and 25.6% for cash.

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News posted: July 29, 2010

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