Metro Bank, Britain's first new high street retail bank in more than 100 years, said on Friday it was ahead of its own targets for new account openings at its flagship branch.

Metro Bank opened for business at its main branch in London's Holborn district just over a month ago, and Chief Executive Craig Donaldson told Reuters that the Holborn branch was well ahead of its internal goals.

Holborn has exceeded our year's expectations in one month for new account openings, said Donaldson. He declined to give any precise figures, saying these would be revealed when the company publishes its accounts.

Chairman and co-founder Anthony Thomson said there had been strong demand from both retail and business customers at the Holborn branch.

I've got a waiting list of 200 people to open business accounts, said Thomson.

Metro Bank is one of several new entrants seeking to break into the country's retail banking sector following the credit crisis, which saw the near-collapse of some of the best-known names and the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds Banking Group.

Britain's retail bank sector is dominated by the Big Four of Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland.

There is also competition from building society Nationwide and Spanish bank Santander, while the NBNK Investments banking venture of Lloyd's of London Chairman Lord Peter Levene raised 50 million pounds in a stock market listing last month.


Donaldson and Thomson were speaking as Metro Bank launched its second branch in London's Earl Court district and announced plans to hire 100 more workers, bringing total staff to 250.

Its expansion comes as some rivals cut jobs.

On Thursday, part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland announced 3,500 job cuts while insurer Standard Life said this week it would cut a net 500 jobs.

In contrast to the queues at the July launch of the Holborn office, there were only a handful of customers outside the Earl's Court branch on Friday morning but Thomson remained confident.

It will get busier. Earl's Court is not a particularly high footfall destination but it's got good visibility, he said.

Some British newspapers have reported that Metro Bank could be interested in the online bank Egg if Egg's parent Citigroup

sells it, but Thomson reiterated that Metro Bank was not interested in takeovers for now.

We wouldn't buy any other bank asset.

(Editing by Michael Shields)