(Bloomberg) -- Metro Bank Plc’s chairman dismissed reports that he may step down following a series of scandals at the U.K. lender.
“There’s just gossip,” Vernon Hill, 73, said Friday in an interview in New York. “I founded Metro Bank in 2010, and I’ll probably die there.”
The company’s shares have slumped 70% this year amid an investigation by British regulators into whether it misclassified assets. After reporting quarterly results showing customers were pulling deposits, Metro Bank in May raised 375 million pounds ($475 million) in capital in a bid to repair its finances.
Senior Metro Bank executives fear the company faces regulatory action unless Hill steps down, and have asked him to lay out a timeline for his departure, the Financial Times reported this month. Hill was re-elected as chairman with 88% of the vote in May, despite calls from shareholders Royal London Asset Management and Legal & General Investment Management that he step down.
Hill also founded Commerce Bancorp Inc. in 1973 and was that company’s chairman and chief executive officer until 2007, when he stepped down over claims he improperly helped businesses tied to his family. Commerce was later acquired by Toronto-Dominion Bank.
Speaking in an interview at a branch opening for another company he chairs -- Philadelphia-based Republic First Bancorp Inc. -- Hill said he’s confident Metro Bank can get past its current struggles.
“The model is unbelievably strong and we’re very excited,” he said.
(Adds Commerce Bancorp history in fifth paragraph.)
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