Metro Bank has appointed its founder Vernon Hill as its chairman to plan the bank’s foray into public listing in the London market in 2014 as well as take charge of the bank’s expansion strategies. Vernon Hill replaces co-founder Anthony Thomson, who stepped down to focus on other business activities.
Vernon Hill and Anthony Thomson set up Metro Bank in 2010 to challenge the UK’s high street banks. Currently, Metro Bank has 15 branches in London and southeast England, with more than 130,000 personal and business accounts. In addition to banking, Vernon Hill has also vested interests in diverse fields.
Vernon Hill is one of the largest owners of Burger King franchises in the US. He is also the chairman of Pet Plan North America, which is a US pet health insurance company that he has also invested in. The owner of the largest private homes in New Jersey state, Vernon Hill’s fortune comes from his sale of Commerce Bank in 2007 for $8bn (£4.9bn). The sale of the Commerce Bank came under scrutiny of FSA and the investigations even led to the blockage of Vernon Hill’s role as vice chairman of Metro Bank when he set up the bank in 2010.
Metro Bank aims to have 200 branches in Greater London area by 2020. Metro Bank’s first branch opened in Holborn in central London in 2010. The newcomer is expected to continue to make losses in 2012 and 2013, but, its deposit base has grown 300% to £500m while achieving a 400% growth in lending at £150m.
Metro Bank has raised £126m in order to expand in the southeast and according to chief executive Craig Donaldson, the bank has received interests from new investors and existing shareholders, which lead to it raising £250m in private funds. But the bank has no plans of further fundraising ahead of its public listing.
In 2011, Metro Bank reported a £33.1m loss, which was up from £23.4m in the 16 months to the end of 2010, as it continued its expansion mode by opening new branches.