UK financial regulators are set to approve the opening of the country's first new start-up bank in a century according to the Financial Times.
The broadsheet says the Financial Services Authority is ready to grant US entrepreneur Vernon Hill a license to launch privately-funded Metro Bank early next year.
Hill, former chief executive of Commerce Bancorp, plans to take the role of nonexecutive chairman at Metro Bank and is one of the largest shareholders in the start-up, the newspaper reported.
Anthony Thomson, who chairs industry think-tank the Financial Services Forum, will be vice-chairman.
Metro Bank has been in gestation for over a year and has so far raised £75 million from private investors to fund the roll-out.
The bank has already elected to use the T24 Model Bank technology platform provided by core banking vendor Temenos, under a novel - for the UK - pay-per-account model.
Using the tag line 'Love your bank', Metro is initially planning to open 12 branches in central London and to expand its high street network to 200 branches within a decade.
The start-up will also have a telephone and Internet operation as it bids to woo customers away from traditional high street banks with a fresh approach based around superior service standard and squeaky-clean brand values.
It intends to make a break from traditional banking by opening seven days a week, and believes that within five years of its launch it will have built a balance sheet consisting of £4.1bn in assets and nearly £300m in equity.