Straight-talking Vernon W Hill II (pictured), chairman of Metro Bank, did not disappoint when he spoke at a dinner hosted by Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership.
Mr Hill founded Commerce Bank in the US after leaving college in 1973 and sold it in 2007 for $8.5 billion. In 2010 he founded Metro Bank in the UK and has seen it grow to 38 branches with 1,800 staff – and counting.
He told guests at a MKBLP dinner that he loved to visit Milton Keynes because it was so much like America.
He said he started Metro Bank "to redefine and reinvent the banking business." Mr Hill calls his dog-friendly branches "stores" and his customers "fans".
He did not mince his words when describing his established rivals: "They overcharge, underserve and under invest and they should keep doing what they are doing. We are out to kill every stupid bank we can find and it’s a never-ending quest."
He told his audience at the Holiday Inn Central Milton Keynes: "The big five banks are doing you a favour by letting you bank with them. To us, the customer is what we are all about.
"We are building a brand from scratch and building fans who enjoy our brand, remain loyal and bring their friends. We are not out to sell a product but to build a relationship.”
Metro Bank offers facilities such as free coin counting machines to both customer and non-customers. “Other banks won’t let you bring in your dog. We want you to bring your dog, we give them treats and we know its name.
"Obviously it makes zero money but customers know that ‘if you love my dog you must love me’.
"Our assets have gone from zero to £6 billion and 600,000 people have switched bank to us in a country where you swear you won’t switch banks."
But there is one British attitude he cannot change. “In our stores the ATMs are inside where you are warm, dry and safe. But no, you would rather stay outside where it is cold, wet and not safe – so we have gone back and put the ATMs outside, just to make you happy,” he joked.
Thanking Mr Hill, MKBLP chairman Dr Philip Smith said: “We have had many distinguished guests address us and to have a real entrepreneur, and a banking entrepreneur at that, with us tonight giving a different perspective on the industry is phenomenal.”