This time it’s about the safe deposit boxes at Metro Bank.
Shares in Metro Bank, until recently the UK’s fastest growing high street lender, slumped 11% on Monday to £4.75, the lowest level since the bank went public back in 2016. Metro’s shares have lost almost three-quarters of their value since January, when the lender first revealed it was seeking to raise fresh capital following a very costly accounting blunder. They have now collapsed by 84% from March last year.
The latest rout comes on the heels of news over the weekend that hundreds of customers asked to withdraw money and items from safe deposit boxes after a series of warnings on Whatsapp. On Saturday, queues formed at a number of Metro Bank branches in London, photographs of which were duly posted and shared on social media, sparking fears that a mini bank run was under way.
“We’re aware there were increased queries in some stores about safe deposit boxes following false rumours about Metro Bank on social media & messaging apps,” Metro Bank said in a statement. “There is no truth to these rumours and we want to reassure our customers that there is no reason to be concerned… We’re a profitable bank, rated no.1 for personal current account service by the CMA and committed to serving our 1.7 million customer accounts.”
To allay customer fears, Metro said that the contents of safety deposit boxes are the customer’s sole property and as such cannot be confiscated. As for customers with a current account at the bank, up to £85,000 is insured under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The vast majority of people were reassured, the bank says, and did not remove their cash.
But the same cannot not be said of some important business clients…