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UPDATE 1-Metro Bank warns capital levels remain below regulators' expectations

Wed, 21st Oct 2020 07:17

(Adds detail, background)

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Britain's Metro Bank
reported a 2% increase in lending for the third quarter, but
warned its capital levels remain below buffers expected by
regulators as it grapples with the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic.

The lender did not provide an update on its bottom line,
after it swung to a 240 million pounds ($311.52 million) loss in
the first six months of the year following provisions to cover
expected loan losses.

Metro said that while its core capital ratio including
additional funding known as MREL stood at 20%, in line with
requirements, that level was below the excess buffer required by
regulators.

It may have to raise more funds, pending a review into
capital requirements by the Bank of England expected to complete
by the end of the year.

In an encouraging sign, the bank said the number of
borrowers deferring payments on loans under a government support
scheme fell to less than 3.5% of the retail mortgage portfolio,
down from 16% at the end of the second quarter.

Metro Bank, whose shares have collapsed since it disclosed a
major accounting error in January last year, has since battled
to restore investor confidence amid a bleak economic outlook and
low interest rates that squeeze profits.

The lender was founded in 2015 to take on incumbent high
street banks by aiming to offer better service through its
brightly coloured city-centre branches.

Metro Bank in August bought peer-to-peer lender RateSetter
as it tries to improve revenues.

The upstart lender is the first British bank to give a
snapshot of its third quarter performance, with Barclays
to follow on Friday.

($1 = 0.7704 pounds)
(Reporting By Lawrence White, Editing by Sinead Cruise)

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