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Metro Bank techies placed at risk of redundancy, severance terms criticised

Now sing with us: Agile, agile, agile...

Exclusive Metro Bank has put "less than 90" IT employees at risk of redundancy as it endeavours to "support our new agile way of working" – agile being that nebulous yet overused term that can be heard in certain circles.

Disgruntled techies working at the retail and commercial bank contacted us this week to inform of recent events that will affect people in the Architecture, Engineering and IT change teams.

A spokesperson at Metro Bank – the first new bank on the British high street in 150 years when it opened in 2010 – sent us a statement:

"We are moving to an 'agile' way of working and as a result are resizing and restructuring our change and IT teams. Fewer than 90 roles are impacted and we are creating 65 new roles in the IT and change world to support our new 'agile' way of working."

The spokesperson added: "Colleagues impacted by the restructure are free to apply for the new roles if they wish to. We are currently running a consultation process with impacted colleagues."

Not everyone staring potential redundancy in the face is happy with the terms on the table.

"The severance package offered is very disappointing: 2 weeks per year employed which is vastly different than the 1 month per year offered as the standard in the industry," said one.

We twice asked Metro Bank to comment on this but we've yet to hear back. We also asked what the 65 newly created roles will be comprised of; how large its IT department will be [Ed: not 65, surely?]; and how will it become more, erm, agile.

Metro Bank refused to answer most of those questions but said: "The move to an agile way of working will improve the quality, speed and cost of change. It will speed up the time taken to get products to market, simplify decision making and allow us better manage our resources."

The word "technology" was mentioned 19 times in Metro Bank's 2020 Annual Report [PDF] but "agile" was strangely absent.

The figures contained within show the company made a statutory loss before tax of £311.4m compared to a statutory loss before tax of £130m in the prior year. This included impairment charges and writes-offs of property, plants and equipment, and ongoing remediation costs, the latter being related to non-compliance with regulations to send SMS warning alerts to customers regarding overdraft charges.

Revenue came in at £340.9m, down 15 per cent year-on-year.

IT costs in the year were £48.4m versus £33.8m in 2019.

Among the strategic priorities for the year is to improve and broaden the current product range, the bank said, "while investing in our colleagues and technology to enhance accessibility for customers." ®

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