Metro Bank says to open first branch in July

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Metro Bank will officially become Britain's first new high street lender in more than 100 years when it opens its first branch in central London on July 29, the group announced on Wednesday.

"Metro Bank, the first UK High Street bank to launch since the 19th century, opens its doors to business and retail customers at 8:00 am on Thursday 29 July," a statement said.

The branch in London's Holborn district will be followed by another one a week later also in the British capital.

Metro Bank said it plans to open another 12 branches across London and bordering towns over the next two years as part of plans to eventually open more than 200 branches.

Metro Bank, co-founded by US billionaire Vernon Hill, hopes to tap into the public's growing dissatisfaction with the traditional banking sector following the recent financial crisis.

Metro Bank aims to focus on customer services, while branches will be open seven days a week. It will also offer a rapid account opening procedure that will issue debit and credit cards within 15 minutes.

And for dog-owning customers, branches will also provide water bowls and free doggy biscuits, Metro says.

© 2010 AFP

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