Metro Bank clashes with City regulator over new chairman

METRO Bank is set for another showdown with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) over its plans to appoint its founder Vernon Hill as chairman.

The FSA forced Metro Bank into appointing Anthony Thomson instead of Hill as chair in 2010, when it became the UK’s first new High Street bank for decades.

Hill has since served as vice chairman, but with Thomson set to retire at the end of the year, Metro Bank wants to put Hill in his position, banking sources said.

The bank is understood to have believed that, having established itself on Britain’s high streets, the FSA would be more open to waving through Hill’s appointment. However, the City regulator is believed to retain its concerns stemming from a 2007 US investigation into Commerce Bank, also founded by Hill.

Commerce Bank was examined by the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currencies over alleged links between other businesses owned by Hill. He was cleared and Commerce Bank was sold in 2008.

Neither Metro Bank nor the FSA would comment yesterday.