Metro Bank Store
Image credit: Phil Adams. Living in Colour

Challenger bank makes first Northern foray

Metro Bank is to open its first location in the North of England, committing to a branch at Manchester Arndale.

The branch will open later this year, offering business, personal and private banking services. The bank sells itself on its accessibility, saying that customers will be able to visit the store, with no appointment needed, and open a personal or business account on the spot, leaving with their debit card in hand, along with internet and mobile banking set up.

Beyond Manchester, Metro Bank said that it intends to open a further 29 locations in the North by 2025, creating 750 jobs. It said that the expansion is part of its efforts to inject competition into the small business banking market following the award of £120m funding from the Capability & Innovation Fund.

Metro Bank was launched in 2010, reportedly as the first new high street bank to launch in the UK in more than a century. Although it has performed well in consumer satisfaction surveys, the bank has been troubled this year. Following miscalculations over its required capital, the bank was forced into a share issue to raise money, with its share price suffering as investor confidence dwindled.

Metro claims to be the fastest-growing challenger bank for business current accounts in the UK, supporting tens of thousands of SMEs. The group said that Metro Bank Manchester will become a hub for the community, hosting a range of business events and charity fundraisers for local people throughout the year.

Craig Donaldson, chief executive of Metro Bank, said: “Bringing the banking revolution to the North of England is a real milestone for Metro Bank. We’re thrilled to be arriving in Manchester later this year, we simply can’t wait as we know Manchester is such a hub for growing British businesses.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The group’s focus on supporting SMEs chimes with the City Council’s own ambition to help new business flourish, and it’s also encouraging to see their commitment to creating new employment and apprenticeship opportunities for local people that will support the city’s continued economic growth.”

The store will be located at 45 Market Street & Unit 4/5 Arndale, and will have more than 3,000 safe deposit boxes for customers. The store will also deliver its free financial education programme, Money Zones, to schools and youth groups in the area, Metro Bank said.

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