The lender saw its mortgage lending grow by £2.6bn to £6.2bn in 2017 and has ambitions to see it reach the top 10 of the market – and expects its Scotland expansion to help achieve that.
Metro Bank said it had tested broker views at two recent roadshows in Scotland and been overwhelmed by the response.
It has also hired its first business development manager (BDM) for the nation, Neil McLeod, and expects to hire more as its customer base grows.
McLeod joined from Halifax in January having spent three years as a BDM at the lender. Prior to that he spent five years at Bank of Scotland in its retail and mortgage business.
Scotland customers will have access to the same product ranges and rates offered to customers in England and Wales, as well as the bank’s switching and customer loyalty services.
Keen to shop around
As part of the launch Metro Bank conducted research into the Scotland housing market to help inform its entry.
It revealed a certain level of dissatisfaction with current lenders and a desire to shop around.
Over half (56%) of Scots said they were keen to shop around when looking for a lender with only 18% considering sticking with their current bank.
And only one in five (21%) consumers felt their lenders were doing enough to help people get on the housing ladder.
The survey also found in general Scots were more positive about the housing market and their prospects in it than the UK average.
Two in five Scottish renters (43%) had plans to get on the property ladder and own their own home, compared to the UK-wide average of 36% while more Scottish owners than UK owners (59% versus 52%) can see themselves moving homes in the future.
The bank said this trend was reinforced when looking at home ownership figures over the last few years.
In Scotland, the percentage of home owners rose from 58% in 2014 to 62% at the end of 2016, while 2017 saw a 30-year low for home ownership in England.
Taking market share
Speaking at the launch event, director of mortgage distribution Charles Morely said: “It is an obvious move for us but it’s a big move. The roadshows were oversubscribed so we are excited about it.
“We’re aiming to be a top 10 lender. We grew last year in what is essentially a flat market and we are taking share from other lenders.
“Eighty per cent of our business is intermediary so we expect that to continue in Scotland,” he added.
Metro Bank CEO Craig Donaldson added: “Since we launched our mortgage business back in 2011, we have had great success supporting borrowers and brokers across both England and Wales.
“With our research showing that over half of Scots would consider switching to another lender, I’m excited about entering the Scottish market.”