* Loans jump 350 pct in 2013
* Operating loss of 10.8 mln stg in Q4
* Opening one new branch every month
LONDON, Jan 23 New British lender Metro Bank
said on Thursday it increased lending by 350 percent in 2013 as
it continued to pick up customers from its more established
Metro Bank, which launched in 2010 as Britain's first new
high street lender for more than a century, said its lending
amounted to 755 million pounds ($1.25 billion) at the end of
2013, up from 168 million at the start of the year. Customer
deposits and total assets both more than doubled to 1.3 billion
pounds and 1.9 billion pounds respectively.
The bank, founded by U.S. entrepreneur Vernon Hill, has been
championed as an alternative to Britain's 'big four' lenders -
Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland,
Barclays and HSBC.
Metro already has 25 branches in London and the southeast of
England. It is opening new branches at a rate of one a month and
expects to create 500 new jobs in 2014. However, it has yet to
make a profit.
The bank made an operating loss of 10.8 million pounds in
the fourth quarter, which it said was due to investment in new
branches and staff.
Chief Executive Vernon Hill told Reuters on Monday that
Metro Bank was on track to make a profit next year, having
doubled its number of customer accounts last year.
The bank announced on Sunday that it had raised 387.5
million pounds ($636 million) to fund its expansion plans by
selling stock to institutional and private investors. It is
planning a stock market listing in 2016.
($1 = 0.6030 British pounds)
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Susan Fenton)