Now anyone who, like me, knew and loved Waterstones bookshop on the site now inhabited by Metro Bank in Northbrook Street will be hard pushed to recognise the place. I must admit I always thought that, when it was Waterstones, it was a bit dark in there, and am very happy that the bookshop has relocated to Parkway, so do step inside Metro Bank if only for a look … and the warm welcome.
First up was an immediate greeting from a member of staff; a big, welcoming smile from a young lady who was genuinely friendly and asked how she could help me today. Once this was established, and on finding out that this was my first visit to the bank, she took me on a quick tour of the banking hall … after checking I had a few extra minutes to spare. Oh yes, and she had already made me a cup of coffee.
As I’ve said, you wouldn’t recognise the building of old, for now it is light, bright, spacious and very 21st-century. Without exception the staff who were not already engaged with other customers were eager to look up from what they were doing and say ‘Hello’. This really did feel like a special place, where the people working there are clearly happy in their work.
Just some of the things that I thought made Metro Bank special, before even getting down to business, are dog biscuits on the counter – Metro Bank pride themselves on being dog friendly, and whilst I don’t think my country-loving four-legged friend would want to go into town, it’s a great thing to know for those who do.
Then there are the vaults – a rarity in banks these days, and always good to know about should I ever inherit some family heirlooms. (Though quite where from goodness only knows.)
The child-friendly aspect is special too, and something Metro Bank prides themselves on, with, amongst other things, plenty of space for buggies. (A quick look on Google later told me that they have several times been awarded the Mumsnet Family Friendly Award.)
The Magic Money Machines are great for anyone who has a load of coins that need counting, whether you are child or adult, and even if you are not a Metro Bank customer you are welcome to use them – and free of charge.
And then down to business, which was dealt with very pleasantly, very efficiently – in fact completely pain free. Transaction finalised, I was asked if I could wait a moment as a Manager always likes to take a few minutes to meet new customers. Over came a young man, one of the Assistant Mangers, who had a brief chat and asked me how I would rate my visit. What else could I say but ten out of ten?