Sunday 22 July 2018

Metro Bank swings to first ever pre-tax profit as customer numbers soar

The lender booked a record 64% rise in lending to £9.6 billion for the year to December 31.

Metro Bank reported full-year earnings on Wednesday (Laura Lean/PA)
Metro Bank reported full-year earnings on Wednesday (Laura Lean/PA)

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association City Correspondent

Metro Bank has swung to its first ever pre-tax profit after a rise in customer accounts helped the lender book record lending and deposit growth.

The lender swung out of the red to report statutory pre-tax profits of £18.7 million for the year to December 31, compared with a loss of £17.1 million a year earlier.

That was on the back of a record £3.8 billion rise in lending to £9.6 billion for the year – up 64% – as well as a 47% jump in deposits to £11.7 billion.

Deposit growth was fastest among business customers, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SME), Metro Bank said, adding that commercial deposits rose 55% and made up around 53% of the total deposit base.

Assets growth also hit record levels, up 63% to £16.4 billion, while total customer accounts pushed past 1.2 million – an increase of 302,000 on the prior year.

Metro Bank chief executive Craig Donaldson said 2017 was a “fantastic year” for the lender.

“We’ve reported our first full year of profitability, had continued exceptional growth in both deposits (47%) and lending (64%), and have the privilege now of looking after over one million customer accounts.”

He added that Metro Bank was driving real competition in the SME market.

“In our current heartland of London and the South East, we are winning 17% of SME business current account switchers.

“These businesses are attracted to our convenient stores which are open seven days a week, along with our online and award-winning mobile banking services and our 24/7 contact centres, which are supported by our brilliant local business managers in every community we serve.”

Metro Bank is planning to open 12 stores in 2018, expanding its branch network further west to Bristol and Cardiff and north to Birmingham and the Midlands in a move that will create 900 jobs.

The company ended 2017 with 55 stores and is currently targeting around 100 stores by 2020 and up to 160 sites by 2023.

“As we enter new markets across the country, we will continue to create more jobs and bring real competition and choice for personal and business banking customers,” Mr Donaldson said.

The lender added that it was preparing its bid for the RBS alternative remedies package, which provides varying sizes of grants to firms that are meant to develop and improve financial products and services available to SMEs.

Metro Bank shares were down nearly 6% in morning trading.

Press Association

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