Metro Bank to review seven day opening and cut jobs

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By Tom Espiner
Business reporter, BBC News

Metro Bank has said it will review whether to stay open seven days a week as it also revealed plans to cut 20% of its workers.

The struggling lender said the measures are part of a strategy to save around £50m a year.

Since launching, Metro Bank sought to differentiate itself from more traditional lenders by staying open for longer.

But on Thursday, it also revealed it will shorten its opening hours.

Metro Bank said: “The company is reviewing seven day opening and extended store hours across the store network and is in discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority about the customer implications of any such changes.”

Meanwhile, more than 850 Metro staff will lose their jobs. The bank currently employs 4,266 people and it said that it plans to reduce “roles across the organisation, including at senior leadership level”.

This week, shareholders voted to back a £1bn rescue deal aimed at securing the bank’s future.

It has faced challenges in recent years after an accounting scandal. The bank had been struggling to make a profit and in October, reports emerged that it wanted to raise money and refinance some of its debts.

Metro Bank was founded in 2010 in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, becoming the first bank to open in the UK in more than a century.

It wanted to be a “challenger” to the main High Street banks and it said that part of its strategy was to help customers avoid “the lunchtime sprint” by being open between 8am and 8pm for the entire week.

On Thursday, the bank said on its website that its branches would be open from 9.30am to 5.30pm but it did not specify if that was for just one day or would be the regular hours from now on.

Metro Bank said last month that it wanted to make annual cuts of £30m a year but it has now raised that to £50m.

It said it “remains committed to stores and the High Street”, and it still looking for sites for branches in the north of England.

But it will aim to cut costs in part by increasing automation for services and by cutting back-office jobs.

The bank is talking to regulators about the implications for customers of reduced opening hours.

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