Sunday 12 May 2019 6:15 pm

Metro Bank denies rumours of financial trouble ahead of fundraising

Under-fire high street lender Metro Bank sought to quash fresh rumours of financial trouble this evening ahead of a crucial City fundraising effort expected to take place in the coming days.

The challenger bank insisted today there was no truth to speculation on social media and messaging apps about instability at the firm, as it sought to reassure customers and investors in the run-up to its planned new cash injection.

Read more: Metro Bank prepares for £350m placing next week

Over the weekend the group said its £350m capital raising plans were "well advanced" and that the bank was in "final discussions" with shareholders.

However, a message on WhatsApp telling people to take money out of their Metro Bank accounts and empty safe deposit boxes deepened speculation about the group’s finances.

"We’re aware there were increased queries in some stores about safe deposit boxes following false rumours about Metro Bank on social media & messaging apps. There is no truth to these rumours and we want to reassure our customers that there is no reason to be concerned," Metrobank said in a statement.

It added: "We're a profitable bank, rated no.1 for personal current account service by the CMA and committed to serving our 1.7m customer accounts."

In January a wave of investor panic loomed large over the group following a major accountancy blunder that led to the dog-friendly challenger bank making an emergency cash call and rushing out its full-year results.

Read more: Metrobank shares plunge as cash call spooks investors

Shares in the FTSE lender have since plunged from over 2,200p in January to 533p at the end of trading last week.

The challenger bank’s boss also said over the weekend that the group might offload a major portion of its existing assets, as speculation over the firm’s future mounts ahead of a crunch annual general meeting (AGM) later this month.

Metro Bank chief executive Craig Donaldson told The Financial Times: “Two of our asset classes saw the risk-weighted assets held against them go up, therefore return on equity went down; one of the ways we could address that would be to securitise them or sell the book.”