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Metro Bank given £120m to improve SME services

Metro Bank given £120m to improve SME services

Metro Bank has been awarded £120m in funding to help meet the needs of small and medium enterprises.

The funding forms part of a wider grant, of which Starling and Clearbank have also received a lump sum, designed to increase the competition within the SME banking space.

The grants come from a £775m fund created as a condition of Royal Bank of Scotland accepting £45bn bailout during the financial crisis.

Provided by Banking Competition Remedies, the independent body set up to distribute the funds, it will allow Metro Bank to open additional branches in the North of England by the end of 2025 alongside its existing store-opening programme.

Metro Bank will target cities including Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool.

The funds will also allow Metro Bank to introduce a range of digital capabilities to help SMEs thrive earlier than planned.

Craig Donaldson, chief executive of Metro Bank, said: "Securing this award from BCR allows us to accelerate our plans to revolutionise banking for SMEs.

"It will help us bring much needed competition to the underserved SME hotspots in the North, while investing in our digital capabilities and creating new jobs.

"We already provide tens of thousands of businesses with market-leading service and convenience, and these funds will enable us to introduce new services and products for more SME customers across the country."

Starling Bank has pledged to use its £100m award to create 398 new jobs in the UK and to make £913m of balance sheet lending available to SME customers by the end of 2023.

It expects to achieve a 6.7 per cent market share within five years.

Anne Boden, founder and chief executive of Starling Bank, said: “Starling will deliver an advanced fully-digital offering that connects SMEs with the financial solutions they need to thrive. This is the opportunity to bring new technology and a new approach to the sector.”