Metro Bank says it will open 16 new UK branches in the next 18 months, trebling the size of its network as it looks to build on a first year on the high street that has seen 25,000 retail and business accounts opened.
Metro became the first new high street player to enter the UK market for 100 years when it opened its doors to customers last July bidding to cash in on consumer distaste for traditional banking methods in the aftermath of the credit crunch.
Pitching itself as a provider of old-fashioned deposit-based lending and superior customer service, complete with gimmicks such as water bowls and biscuits for customers' dogs, the bank says a 1000 accounts are being opened a week and over 1200 commercial customers have joined in its first year.
The next 18 months will see the branch network expand from eight to 24, doubling the bank's workforce from 300 to 600. Uxbridge, Watford, Hounslow, Staines, High Wycombe, Colliers Wood, Ealing, Romford, Chiswick, Guildford, Kingston and Hammersmith are all slated to get branches.
Metro's co-founder, Vernon Hill, the US entrepreneur who established Commerce Bank, has told Reuters that the launch costs mean the bank posted a first year loss of around £20 million but hopes to break even by 2013 and could be floated further down the line.