Town’s glitzy new bank has big plans

Metro Bank PLC is though to be Britain's first new high-street bank in over 150 years after opening in 2010.'Hemel Hempstead opening'Manager Keith Fountain and new recruit Becky Wymer, 22, from Grovehill
Metro Bank PLC is though to be Britain's first new high-street bank in over 150 years after opening in 2010.'Hemel Hempstead opening'Manager Keith Fountain and new recruit Becky Wymer, 22, from Grovehill

The chief executive of a new bank which has just opened in Hemel Hempstead town centre says he hopes the Metro model will have the power to change lives.

Craig Donaldson, who made an appearance at the opening of Metro Bank’s 15th outlet, complete with sparkling marble floors, stressed how the organisation was helping local people launch their careers.

Metro Bank, which launched just two years ago, is thought to be Britain’s first all-new High Street bank in more than 150 years.

Mr Donaldson said: “We are creating lending opportunities and we are creating careers for people – local people.

“Of the 23 people here, a lot of them will be promoted.”

The glossy Marlowes Shopping Centre hub will open 8am to 8pm weekdays, 8am to 6pm Saturdays and 11am to 5pm Sundays.

“We always wanted to get here because it’s a great town and here on the corner of the Marlowes – it’s a great, great location,” added Mr Donaldson.

Assistant manager Becky Wymer, 22, from Grovehill, is happy to be one of the team and has ambitions to be a store manager. She said: “I am so grateful I got the job, I love it.”

And the former beauty student believes the organisation can play its part in revitalising the town.

“You get lots closing down and a lot of people need jobs in Hemel. They are not happy with their banks at all,” she said.

“But look at this place. It really is doing good for Hemel.”

Metro Bank champions a US customer service model over the price-based models of the better-known lenders.

Free transactions abroad, free coin counting, debit account set ups within 20 minutes and card replacements by ‘the following morning’ are just some of the services if offers.

Passer-by Jeff Payne from Hemel Hempstead said: “If it can give you a bit more than the other banks offer, then that is what it’s all about.”