AS the UK’s big name banks shut down hundreds of high street branches one firm is bucking the trend.

Metro Bank, which claims to be Britain’s first new High Street Bank since 1840, is opening its new branch in Westquay on Friday, July 20, creating around 25 jobs.

It occupies premises formerly home to Starbucks which face out onto Above Bar Street.

This will be Metro’s 57th ‘store’ in the UK since its formation by US tycoon Vernon Hill.

Metro is the only so-called challenger bank to make an impact in the UK since the shake-up of the banking system following the economic crash and has 1.4 million customers.

Mr Hill’s view is that banks should be like shops and Metros will be open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm Mondays to Fridays 8am to 6pm on Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays and bank holidays, 362 days a year.

He is dismissive of the ‘Big five’ banks claiming they act as a cartel and told the Echo “they have under-served and over charged their customers and under-invested in their business.”

The Mayor of Southampton, Stephen Barnes-Andrews, will officially open the Southampton store, along with Metro’s local director, Leigh Atkinson and store manager, Dee Allsop.

The grand opening party is set to kick off at 8am with free entertainment, including stilt walkers, DJ, face painting and a dog show.

The 'community party' continues on the following day.

Giles Semper, CEO at Southampton BID said: “We are delighted Metro Bank is coming to Southampton. It is a brand with a passion for the high street and is always active with the local Business Improvement District. We can’t wait to get to know the team and to work with them for the wider good of the city’s business community.”

Craig Donaldson, CEO at Metro Bank commented: “I’m delighted we’re joining the Southampton community and introducing real choice in banking for local residents and businesses.