Metro Bank taps investors for £45m to speed up expansion

METRO Bank, the first start-up banking venture to hit the UK in over a century, is planning to tap its investors for £45m in fresh funding in order to double the rate at which it opens new stores.

Metro now plans to open eight stores within the first year and 10, possibly more, in its second year, compared to its original plan to stick at four stores in year one and eight in year two.

The bank launched in the summer with the backing of US banking entrepreneur Vernon Hill, who previously founded Commerce Bank in the States. At the time, it raised £75m in start-up funding from a group of investors including fund manager Fidelity, property investors the Reuben brothers and New York real estate developer Richard LeFrak.

Metro opened its fourth store in Borehamwood on Friday, and already has six more locations lined up ready to go – Tottenham Court Road, High Street Kensington, Croydon, Bromley, Ealing and Uxbridge.

Chief executive Craig Donaldson told City A.M. he is “very confident” of being able to raise the new capital from existing investors, though he added that the bank has a pipeline of new investors waiting to jump in if not. Metro is planning to float on the stock market at the end of 2012.