Metro Bank ends relationship with architecture firm owned by founder's wife

Josh Hall's picture

Beleaguered Metro Bank has cut ties with the architecture and design firm owned by its founder's wife, following investor criticism of the relationship.

The challenger bank announced in its latest share prospectus that it would be ending its relationship with InterArch, to which it has made more than £25 million in payments to date.

InterArch, which is owned by Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill's wife Shirley Hill, had conducted architecture, creative, and branding work for the embattled bank since its launch.

But last year the relationship came under scrutiny by Metro Bank investor Royal London Asset Management, which suggested that it raised questions about conflicts of interest.

Metro Bank is struggling to regain trust amongst investors following a major accounting error that forced it to seek £375 million in emergency funds.

The money, which was raised through the placement of new shares, will help to return the bank to financial stability after it misclassified almost £1 billion worth of lending.

But the error will continue to loom over the bank, which still faces investigations from both the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

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