Finance · 3 January 2017

Challenger bank commits £1bn to business lending

Metro Bank business lending
Metro Bank lent £551m to new and existing business and commercial customers in the first three quarters of 2016

Metro Bank, which describes itself as the “entrepreneur’s bank”, has started 2017 by announcing £1bn of capital will be ring-fenced for loans to new and existing business lending customers.

The bank, which combines business lending with retail customers, initially entered the UK market in 2010 as the first new high street bank in more than 150 years. Set up by Vernon Hill, it has since grown to 50 branches around the UK and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Its £1bn commitment to business lending is, it believes, a signal the bank is “open for business” and comes on the back of £544m in loans to business and commercial customers in 2015 and £551m in the first three quarters of 2016.

Metro Bank, in its position as a challenger bank alongside the likes of Aldermore and Clydesdale, has looked to disrupt the finance space by opening seven days a week, issuing cards and cheque books on the spot and providing services such as free coin counting.

Ian Walters, managing director for business banking at Metro Bank, commented: “By focussing on traditional relationship banking supported by state-of-the-art technology, we’re able to be a true banking parter for our customers.

“Our common sense approach to lending has enabled some really great companies to prosper, and we hope that today’s announcement will provide even more customers with the helping hand that they need to grow and succeed in 2017.”

According to Metro Bank, each business lending customer is provided with a local business manager – someone who is able to make local lending decisions. Larger businesses get support form a specialised sector team.

Explaining why he has decided to bank with Metro, Sweeney & Todd owner Craig Hayward said is is “incredibly important” for his bank to take the time to understand his restaurant business – as well as its meld and plans.

He added: “With Metro they’ve been a real banking partner in the truest sense of the word. When we required lending, not only was it a straightforward, quick and smooth process, but they spoke to us, keeping us informed the whole way through.”

A number of banks used 2016 to announce major business lending commitment plans, including a £10bn HSBC war-chest backed up by a new online tool providing credit decisions for loans of up to £30,000.

Mark Stokes, managing director for commercial banking at Metro Bank, said: “Businesses are the very bedrock of the UK economy and it’s absolutely vital that lenders do what they can to support their growth.

“Despite the immediate uncertainty following the EU referendum, our customers remain confident about the future and we remain committed to supporting them as they go from strength to strength.”

Metro Bank growth and business lending figures

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Business Advice. He is also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative. Prior to his role at Real Business, he was editor at competitor website Growth Business and head reporter at M&A Deals. Throughout his career he has interviewed leading entrepreneurs including Alex Chesterman, Lopo Champalimaud, Sarah Wood, James Averdeick and Alex Saint.

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