New High Street bank opens in London today

| July 29, 2010 | 0 Comments

Metro Bank, which aims to make banking a “fun retail experience” opens in Holborn, central London today.

The bank is Britain’s first new high street lender for more than a century and it has pledged to return to “core banking values”.

The bank said it will employ more cashiers than the existing “big four” banks, 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.

Meanwhile, the bank added it is aiming for a contemporary feel with the inside of the first new bank to resemble a hotel reception, rather than a bank.

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

The bank, which is backed by US billionaire and former Commerce Bank owner Vernon Hill, is focusing on shop hours by opening seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm on weekdays.

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

However, many analysts believe Metro Bank’s mortgage and savings products are not competitive enough to enter the best-buy tables.

Michelle Slade of financial information service Moneyfacts said despite benefits such as late opening hours, the bank is not offering a competitive interest rate.

“If they have not got at least a reasonable rate of interest, people will discount them. They are going to struggle to get market share,” said Ms Slade.

Mr Hill set up Commerce Bank in the US in 1973 and it is now the 18th biggest bank in America with 500 branches.

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