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FinanceNew lease of life for Metro Bank after investment found

New lease of life for Metro Bank after investment found

Metro Bank has successfully secured its financial future by striking a deal with investors, putting an end to days of speculation about the bank’s stability.

The announcement came on Sunday, following inquiries from the Bank of England to larger lenders about potential interest in acquiring Metro Bank and rumours of other banks eyeing its assets.

Pivotal deal

Metro Bank has secured £325 million in new funding and refinanced £600 million of debt, marking what the bank’s CEO, Daniel Frumkin, referred to as “a new chapter” for the institution.

The news prompted a rebound in Metro Bank’s share price today.

But despite this lifeline, Simon Samuels, a former executive at Barclays and Citi, expressed reservations on the BBC’s Today program.

He suggested that while the financing provides Metro Bank with some breathing space, it does not address the fundamental challenges posed by the bank’s costly strategy of maintaining a significant network of High Street branches in an era of increasing online banking adoption.

Many financial institutions have been closing physical branches and emphasizing online services, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In contrast, Metro Bank remains committed to its brick-and-mortar presence, which Samuels described as unsustainable in terms of cost.

Samuels also claimed that Metro Bank’s long-term prospects of success are slim, suggesting that it may eventually become part of a larger banking group.

Spaldy Investments move in

Under the terms of the deal announced on Sunday, Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal and his firm, Spaldy Investments, will become the largest shareholders of Metro Bank, holding a 53% stake in the bank – worth £102 million.

Founded in 2010 in the aftermath of the financial crisis, Metro Bank positioned itself as a “challenger” to traditional high street banks, promising to keep its branches open seven days a week.

It currently serves 2.7 million customers and holds approximately £15 billion in deposits across 76 branches.

While Metro Bank has consistently maintained that its financial position remains robust and complies with all regulatory requirements, last week’s reports indicated a need to raise £600 million.

Potential bids

Over the weekend, the Financial Times reported that several rival banks were exploring potential bids for parts of Metro Bank’s business.

In addition to the £325 million in capital raised from existing shareholders and new backers, Metro Bank is still in discussions about selling up to £3 billion of its residential mortgages.

Customers with mortgages from Metro Bank will not experience immediate changes, but there is a possibility that some loans may be managed by another bank in the future if a deal materialises.





Editorial credit: Alex Yeung / Shutterstock.com

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