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Metro Bank assures customers their money is safe as rumours set in

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Metro Bank has been forced to reassure customers that their money is safe, after Whatsapp messages spooked people to withdraw their cash over the weekend.

Rumours on Whatsapp messaging groups alleged that the challenger bank was in trouble, resulting in a wave of customers visiting branches across West London to withdraw cash and check their safety deposit boxes.

Images went viral on Twitter showing long queues of customers in stores on Saturday, which in turn spooked other customers.

A spokesperson for the bank told Your Money: “We’re aware there were increased queries in some stores about safe deposit boxes following false rumours about Metro Bank on social media and messaging apps.

“There is no truth to these rumours and we want to reassure our customers that there is no reason to be concerned. We’re a profitable bank, rated number one for personal current account service by the CMA [Competition and Markets Authority] and committed to serving our 1.7 million customer accounts.”

Accounting error

Investors in Metro Bank have also been spooked after the bank disclosed an accounting error in January. This related to the way it classified the risks associated with certain loans – with some proving to be riskier than had been initially assumed. As a result, the bank withdrew its portfolio commercial buy-to-let products in February.

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, chief executive Craig Donaldson said Metro Bank was considering selling £1bn worth of loans, which lie at the centre of the accounting error.

The challenger bank also updated the stock exchange with an announcement on Monday morning concerning the progress of plans to raise £350m to support future growth plans. It said discussions with existing and new investors had so far been positive and the capital raise is due to take place before the end of June.

Recent events have taken their toll on Metro Bank’s share price, which has fallen 76% from £22.02 on 22 January to £5.34 today.