Company Visit to Metro Bank with Insider London
Recent years have seen satisfaction fall below 60% with the UK’s big four banks (Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds & RBS). This is one of several reasons often proffered for the rise of the challenger bank. KPMG reports that this is a worldwide movement though particularly concentrated in the UK because of its lack of saturation with big banks compared to other markets and its early adoption of digital banking.
Countless mobile-only banking platforms have risen to prominence in the UK, but one challenger bank has a different view of what clients are looking for. Maintaining a brick and mortar presence alongside their mobile services, Metro Bank stands apart from the rest for several reasons.
Britain isn’t used to new high street banks popping up. In fact, Metro Bank was granted the first new banking license in more than 150 years. Founded by American tycoons Anthony Thomson and Vernon Hill, Metro Bank is largely following the business model of Hill’s earlier venture: Commerce Bancorp. Nevertheless in four years the London growth rate was approximately triple the growth rate of Commerce in the US.
One of the most praised features of the Metro Bank strategy is that it promises a level of convenience to its customers which is perhaps unparalleled with UK high street banks. Among the most interesting offerings are the 8am-8pm opening hours, the fact that complex services are available on a walk-in basis with no appointment needed and the ability for every branch to print and issue debit cards in the branch . In a nod to this wide range of services, Metro Bank actually prefers to call their branches “stores”.
From dog bowls and colouring books to “magic money machines” and free currency conversion for both customers and non-customers, are these “gimmicks” (as the CEO openly calls them) already paying off?
Well in under ten years and whilst only operating in London and the South East the bank has grown to accommodate more than 1.7 million customers. As the challenger bank pushes further North, we will have to wait and see what’s in “store” for Metro Bank.