Blink and you’ll miss it. The business pages of the broadsheets this week-end carried reminders about the opening of the first new bank for a 100 years. The Metro Bank is opening its first branch in London on July 29th. Since they exist to “eliminate every stupid bank rule we can find”, here’s my product review of the retailer bank out to change the face of British banking.
One of the more interesting aspect of the new banking philosophy is the idea that as retailers, their first priority is to put the customer firmly in the centre of the business. In this product review, here are some of the differences you can expect to see at Metro Bank:
* Being open when people need to bank – the banking industry may finally have entered the 21st Century with new opening hours of 8am-8pm five days a week and differing hours for Saturdays and Sundays. In fact, the only times the store will close will be Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Good Friday.
* A better customer ‘experience’ – Metro Bank provides toilets as well as treats for pets and children. They also promise to answer all telephone calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
* As a retailer bank, there are some very practical changes in their open-door approach. In the lobby you will be greeted with a light and airy space, no glass security panels and free coin-counting machines. Apart from this, there has been very little real information about the services and products on offer.
whilst all this is very nice, it can seem a bit gimmicky unless you understand the reasoning behind it. The Co-founders believe that if the customers are given a great banking experience, they will be prepared to do business for a longer period of time and be willing to hand over more of their deposits.
However, for all the ‘experience’, customers will want to know that their money is safe, that they get the best possible return on their deposit and that Metro is taken seriously as a bank and not just a shop.
Changing the face of British banking does not come free. One of the first things new customers will note is that the interest rates are around 1/2% lower than the other banks. Practically speaking, that means anyone with £5,000 deposited would be paying roughly £25 per year to be able to bank at more convenient hours.
Metro Bank plans to open 4 banks in 2010 with more to follow. As we look on whilst Londoners decide whether to entrust their hard-earned wealth into the new bank’s hands, maybe now is the time to spare a thought as to how you yourself can create more wealth for your own bank account. Find out how some people have earned themselves a six figure income. Having reviewed the Metro Bank UK product and how it is changing the face of British banking, I hope you can also see a way to find new wealth creation for yourself.