Metro Bank has unveiled plans to plough £126m into the creation of new high street bank branches, with an seven sites due to open before the end of 2012. This comes as the UK’s largest building society, Nationwide, confirmed plans to close 23 branches in England and Scotland by the end of August 2012.
The news follows Marks and Spencer’s announcement that the retailer will be launching a full banking service, with 50 branches opening in the next two years.
Metro Bank’s ambitious expansion
Metro Bank became Britain’s first new high street bank in over 100 years when it opened four stores in 2010, with the promise to ‘reinvent the rules of retail banking.’ At present, Metro Bank has 12 branches in Greater London, which are open seven days a week, from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday.
Its long-term ambition is to reach over 200 branches by 2020, all based in London and the Home Counties. Metro Bank chief executive Craig McDonald, said: ‘Londoners are flocking to us to open accounts and we’ve been blown away by local reaction to our style of community banking.’
Nationwide to close 23 branches
The planned expansion by Metro will bring staff numbers up to 700 by the end of the year. But its rapid growth coincides with heavy cuts being made by more established names in banking. Nationwide announced this week that it is set to close 23 branches by the end of August.
It will close nine branches Nationwide branches across several counties in England and Scotland, three branches of Cheshire Building Society, ten branches of Derbyshire Building Society, and one branch of Dunfermline Building Society.