Metro Bank in hiring drive

METRO Bank, the new high street lender set up by US billionaire Vernon Hill, has selected a team of City veterans as non-executive directors to beef up its board, ahead of an imminent final decision from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on its banking licence.

The bank – which is led by Financial Services Forum chairman Anthony Thomson as chairman, Hill as vice-chairman and ex-RBS retail banking head Craig Donaldson as chief executive – has yet to announce its full management team, with news on who will take up the managing director and finance director positions expected with any statement on the FSA licence.

But it has now filled all of its non-executive board positions in the form of ex-Conservative deputy chairman Howard Flight; J Rothschild Assurance co-founder Keith Carby; former Midland Bank director Eugene Lockhard; ex-Nationwide retail director Stuart Bernau and Ben Gunn, a previous chief executive of Friends Provident Life and Pensions.

Metro Bank aims to mark itself out from competitors with supreme levels of customer service, including having toilets in branches, opening until late at night and at the weekend and utilising little touches such as allowing clients to bring their dogs into branches.

It aims to open four separate branches this year in Holborn, Earls Court, Borehamwood and Fulham Broadway, with a further eight to come next year.

Metro Bank is one of a number of high street banking start-ups hoping this year to take advantage of the European Union’s drive to inject more competition into the banking sector. Its new rivals include Virgin Money and Tesco Bank.