Metro Bank rebounds as Brexit talks row back from the brink of no deal

Metro Bank rebounds as Brexit talks row back from the brink of no deal

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According to the Telegraph:

The EU are said to be prepared to make a major concession on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal by paving the way for the Northern Ireland assembly to leave a new Irish backstop after an unspecified number of years.

Diplomatic sources said the EU would concede unilateral revocation of the withdrawal treaty by Stormont after a period of time, as long as both communities agree to it. The EU are said to be prepared to make a major concession on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal by paving the way for the Northern Ireland assembly to leave a new Irish backstop after an unspecified number of years.

Diplomatic sources said the EU would concede unilateral revocation of the withdrawal treaty by Stormont after a period of time, as long as both communities agree to it, according to The Times.

However Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative leader, said the offer looked like "tokenism" from the EU. "This looks suspiciously like EU, realising they are about to look like the bad guys, making a tokenistic offer," he said. "This is about shifting blame to Boris Johnson."cording to The Times.

The  Taoiseach, who spoke to Boris Johnson by telephone for about 40 minutes yesterday, warned that both Ireland and the EU would not accept an agreement at "any cost" and cautioned that there were some "fundamental changes" which still needed to be guaranteed.  "I think it is going to be very difficult to secure an agreement by next week, quite frankly," Mr Varadkar told RTE news. 

"Essentially what the United Kingdom has done is repudiate the deal that we negotiated in good faith with Prime Minister (Theresa) May's government over two years and sort of put half of that now back on the table and are saying, 'That's a concession'. And of course it isn't really."

Metro Share price

Metro Bank (MTRO) seems very correlated to Brexit Sentiment as investors wait for the financial resutls in a couple of weeks. Yesterday it looked odds on for a hard Brexit, now the Irish seem to be moving again. My bet is a last minute deal or a small extension to complete the deal. Neither the EU or UK wants a hard Brexit or kicking the can down the road for years with more referendums, prolonged negotiations etc.

The shares in MTRO are up 5% to 207p, after a dire day yesterday. There’s alot of bad news baked into the shares at around 200p. Any hint of good news like a Brexit deal will really move Metro up.

MEtro bank share price oct 9

Further Reading

The next Metro Bank chairman: who might replace flamboyant founder Vernon Hill?  Lucy Burton, banking editor 9 OCTOBER 2019 • 7:00AM

Few bosses in the UK banking sector are as eccentric as American billionaire Vernon Hill, the Metro Bank founder who has compared opening a bank account in London to "having your teeth drilled" and initially made a fortune running Burger King franchises.

A former golfing buddy of Donald Trump who is known as “Vernon the Barbarian” to his rivals in the US, those who know Hill say he once brought Biggin Hill’s annual air show to a standstill so he could fly to Italy in his private jet, refuses to travel anywhere without his Yorkshire terrier, Sir Duffield II, and owns New Jersey's largest mansion (“Hill House”).

At Commerce, the American bank he set up in his 20s, he once stopped a meeting to disassemble an employee’s pen and throw it in the bin because it was branded with a rival’s logo.

But his era at the top of Metro Bank – the UK's first high-street lender for more than a century when it opened in 2010 – is coming to an end after a disastrous year in which a major accounting gaffe left his loyal club of investors nursing huge losses. Last week, he said he would step down as chairman earlier than expected and would leave the board altogether.

With the bank now combing the City for a new chairman, speculation is swirling over who might be approached – and be interested – in the job at a time when regulators are investigating the loans error and huge changes to the structure of the bank are potentially afoot.

Lord Myners, who was City Minister during the financial crisis, has been mentioned as a potential candidate, but friends close to the financier said he has not been approached and has zero interest in the job.

Those close to Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the former boss of Virgin Money who would be a popular pick with shareholders, say she has also not been approached and is focused on her new job running Salesforce UK.

John Cronin, a banks analyst at Goodbody, said it will be challenging to hire someone when a regulatory investigation is ongoing and there could be changes ahead, with sources telling The Telegraph last weekend that Hill hasn't ruled out taking the bank private. "It's not a 'business as usual' chairman role," Cronin said.

Senior bankers agree, with one well-known executive questioning why anyone would want it. "They need a chair who can help them with regulators and lead a sales process, they don't need an operator," the person said.

Here are some candidates that could be in the frame.

Benny Higgins

Senior banking sources think Benny Higgins, the former boss of Tesco Bank who is understood to know Metro chief Craig Donaldson well from his RBS days, is likely to be on an initial list of candidates. Higgins declined to comment on whether he'd been approached for the role.

However, some investors think such a move would do little to help restore shareholder confidence in the troubled bank given that Higgins' time in charge of Tesco Bank courted controversy for his use of expenses.

The colourful Scottish banker, who has been married five times, sparked uproar in 2015 after it emerged that he had claimed more than £18,000 for London taxis during an eight-month spell.

Richard Pym

Richard Pym, the ex-chairman of “bad bank” UK Asset Resolution as well as Co-operative Bank, has spent almost five decades working in financial services and was called "the ultimate safe pair of hands appointment" when he became the boss of Bradford & Bingley during the financial crash.

Known for his conservative management style, he could be viewed as the person able to steady Metro's ship. Clearly unafraid of a challenge, he replaced ex-methodist minister Paul Flowers as chairman of Co-op Bank in 2013 just after disgraced Flowers – who later pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and crystal meth – stood down amid the discovery of a £1.5bn capital black hole at the bank.

Having been chairman of Allied Irish Bank (AIB) since 2014, 70-year-old Pym may be ready for a fresh challenge

Having been chairman of Allied Irish Bank (AIB) since 2014, the 70-year-old may be ready for a fresh challenge – he told this paper just before the financial crisis that he'd like to work for another 15 years. Spokespeople for AIB did not respond to a request for comment.

Sir Michael Snyder

An internal candidate, one senior City source says the senior independent director and audit committee chair already "sees his name on the chair's door".

The former accountant, who joined Metro's board in 2015 and was the City of London's policy chairman from 2002 to 2008, would be the obvious pick if the lender struggles to find a suitable banker externally.

He would likely compete with Ben Gunn for the top job, given the insurance veteran was promoted to deputy chairman in February following a shake-up of the board. The bank declined to comment.

Liam Coleman

It might be too soon for Co-op Bank's former chief Liam Coleman to take on such a hefty job, given he only stood down from the high-pressure Co-op role last year after just 18 months in charge, but his experience is likely to pique the interest of Metro's board.

Liam Coleman is now chairman of the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Coleman, who spent almost five years at the bank and is now chairman of the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led the process to recapitalise Co-op Bank and last year said it was “drawing a line under the past” after its near-collapse and a string of scandals.

The 52-year-old, who has also worked at Nationwide and RBS, did not respond to requests for comment.