Metro Bank earmarks £1bn for business lending

Mark Stokes said Metro Bank's customers 'remain confident about the future'. Picture: Thomas Alexander

Mark Stokes said Metro Bank's customers 'remain confident about the future'. Picture: Thomas Alexander

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Metro Bank is pledging £1 billion to lend to businesses this year, available to new and existing customers, as it looks to back their growth after the Brexit vote.

The lender, which bills itself as “the entrepreneur’s bank”, said the pot is open to business and commercial clients, and comes after it lent this part of the market more than £551 million in the first three quarters of 2016, up from the £544m in the whole of 2015.

READ MORE: Keep calm and carry on is Metro Bank’s Brexit motto

Metro’s managing director of commercial banking Mark Stokes said: “Businesses are the very bedrock of the UK economy and it’s absolutely vital that lenders do what they can to support their growth.

“Despite the immediate uncertainty following the EU referendum, our customers remain confident about the future and we remain committed to supporting them as they go from strength to strength.”

Ian Walters, the FTSE 250 firm’s managing director of business banking, added that it hopes news of its £1bn pledge “will provide even more customers with the helping hand that they need to grow and succeed in 2017”.

One example cited by the challenger bank of benefiting from its lending was Red Lion Leisure, whose managing director Sophie Gregorios said this enabled it to build a 120-bed hotel – a “real milestone” for the company.

Metro Bank launched in the UK in 2010, and is now on track for a million customer accounts by the middle of this year. Chief executive Craig Donaldson has vowed to “keep calm and carry on” after the Brexit vote, aiming to grow its 44 branches to 100 by 2020.

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