On Tuesday, Metro Bank boss Vernon Hill is being awarded the Institute of Economic Affairs’ Free Enterprise Award whose previous winners include Baroness Thatcher, Professor FA Hayek and Sir Richard Branson. The IEA says that Hill is a “remarkable entrepreneur who has identified a clear opportunity and entered the UK banking scene at a time when the sector has been under constant fire.” He has shown “incredible perseverance and imagination,” the IEA said.
For the American the easy part was seeing both the opportunity and the answer. “Here in Britain is you have a small number of banks,” he says. “They’re big, they’re broken, they’re under-invested, they operate like a cartel should - they overcharge, under-serve, and massively under-invest. Here we show up with a brand new, customer service model, it’s completely customer focused. And the customers are responding.”
Mr Hill said he was concerned about the money printing efforts by central banks’ around the world, including the Bank of England’s Quantitative Easing programme.
“Proponents would say it would be a lot worse if you didn’t print money,” he said. “There is a tremendous risk printing this much money. Inflation is a tremendous risk. We’ve seen countries go bust already. And the history of the world is that if you print this much money, you go broke. Maybe this time will be different. Maybe not.”