Metro Bank ousts risk officer a fortnight after he joined ailing lender

Metro Bank is facing fresh problems after ousting its chief risk officer little more than a fortnight after he joined.

Grahame McGirr, who has 20 years of banking experience including at Allied Irish and the Co-op , joined Metro in early February to ensure a smooth handover from Aileen Gillan, who is stepping down.

But by 24 of February, just days before his formal takeover, McGirr was gone.

A spokeswoman for the lender said McGirr was asked to leave because he was “not a good fit”. She did not provide further details, saying only that he had “left the business”.

Metro’s shares closed down 3% at 159p on Wednesday. Two years ago they were changing hands at more than £40.

The bank has asked Gillan to stay on for a month and is scrambling to appoint a replacement by 31 March.

The role of a chief risk officer is to keep tabs on how much risk the bank takes on through loans or accounts that could harm its operations, or put it in breach of regulations.

McGirr’s departure, first reported by Sky News, is a further blow to the bank, which is still struggling to find a permanent chairman after a clearout of its top ranks.

Vernon Hill and Craig Donaldson resigned as chairman and chief executive respectively in the final weeks of 2019 after a turbulent year for the bank, triggered by an accounting error involving the misclassification of £900m of loans as less risky than they were.

An investigation was launched by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. The inquiry is expected to last another year.

The lender’s new chief executive, Daniel Frumkin, said last week that he expected more staff to leave in the coming months. The warning came as Metro reported it was significantly scaling back expansion plans as part of a strategy to rein in costs after a £130m annual loss.

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