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Metro Bank in talks with regulators to strengthen finances or seek buyer, says source

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Metro Bank, a UK-based lender, is facing significant challenges as it grapples with a need to bolster its balance sheet or find a buyer. The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is currently working with the bank to develop a plan to address this issue by Monday morning.

Shares in Metro Bank have recently taken a hit following reports that the bank has hired advisers to help strengthen its balance sheet. Unfortunately, the bank has not received the necessary capital relief from banking regulators, leading to this urgent need for action.

To rectify the situation, Metro Bank has been exploring various options to raise up to £600 million ($734.28 million) of capital. These options include seeking equity and debt injections, as well as asset sales.

The PRA, which is responsible for overseeing the stability and resilience of financial institutions in the UK, is actively engaged with Metro Bank in finding a viable solution. A person with knowledge of the situation indicated that the PRA is working closely with the bank to develop a plan that would either bolster its balance sheet or facilitate a potential sale.

Metro Bank has faced challenges in recent times, including the disclosure earlier this year that it had miscalculated the risk levels of its loan book. This revelation led to a sharp drop in its share price and a subsequent investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the PRA.

The bank’s difficulties have also been exacerbated by increased competition in the UK banking sector and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Metro Bank, which was founded in 2010, was seen as a disruptor to traditional banks with its focus on customer service and brick-and-mortar branches.

The outcome of the PRA’s assessment and Metro Bank’s subsequent actions will undoubtedly have implications for the bank’s future. However, it is worth noting that the bank has maintained that it remains well-capitalized and that customer deposits are safe.

As the situation unfolds, investors and customers of Metro Bank will be closely watching for updates on the bank’s plans to address its balance sheet challenges. The PRA’s oversight and involvement in finding a resolution will be crucial in ensuring the stability of the UK financial system.

Metro Bank’s struggles serve as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by banks in an increasingly competitive and constantly evolving industry. In this climate, it is imperative that financial institutions maintain robust financial positions to weather any potential storms that may arise.

More detail via Reuters here… ( Image via Reuters )

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