The co-founder of Metro Bank, Anthony Thomson, has expressed scepticism about its future, stating that it has a “very, very limited future” if it continues to focus on physical branches; this comes after Metro Bank recently secured a deal to raise funds amid financial concerns and affirmed its commitment to brick-and-mortar branches.
However, Thomson, who served as the bank’s chairman from 2010 to 2012, criticized the strategy, emphasizing the high costs of maintaining branches, which he views as a flawed approach given the current financial position of the bank.
Thomson suggested that pursuing a branch-based strategy could hinder Metro Bank’s growth and sustainability in the evolving banking landscape. He contrasted this with his venture, Atom Bank, which operates as an internet-only bank without physical branches.
Metro Bank, founded in 2010 as a challenger bank, faced challenges in 2019 due to an accounting scandal and a subsequent request to regulators to reduce reserve requirements for mortgage lending. The recent fund-raising deal involved Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal becoming the controlling shareholder with a 53% stake.
While Metro Bank plans to open new stores in the north of England, analysts have noted the expensive nature of branches and the increasing trend of consumers shifting to online banking.
The share price of Metro Bank has experienced significant fluctuations, with recent concerns about its financial position leading to speculation and a subsequent fund-raising deal to secure its future.