Metro Bank was once the darling of the British banking sector. It was founded in 2010 and quickly gained a reputation for its innovative approach to customer service. The bank offered seven-day-a-week opening hours, a free dog biscuit with every account opening, and even a dog walking service.
Metro Bank's shares soared in the early years, and the bank was valued at over £2 billion at its peak. However, things started to go wrong in 2019. The bank was found to have overstated its asset values by £1 billion, and it was forced to raise emergency capital.
Metro Bank's shares have been in freefall ever since. They are now down over 90% from their peak, and the bank is worth less than £200 million.
So what went wrong?
There are a number of factors that have contributed to Metro Bank's downfall. One is that the bank grew too quickly. It opened hundreds of new branches in a short period of time, and it was unable to keep up with the regulatory requirements.
Another factor is that Metro Bank made a number of bad loans. The bank lent heavily to commercial property developers, and many of these loans have gone sour.
Finally, Metro Bank has been hit by a number of scandals. In 2019, the bank was fined £10 million by the Financial Conduct Authority for overstating its asset values. And in 2023, the bank was fined £2 million for failing to properly report suspicious transactions.
Metro Bank's story is a cautionary tale for other banks and financial institutions. It shows that it is important to grow at a sustainable pace and to make sound lending decisions. It also shows that banks need to have strong compliance and risk management systems in place.
Metro is currently seeking to shore up its balance sheet by £600M. It is unlikely to raise this money.
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