Two banks have reported a surge in lending to UK households and businesses, suggesting that competition with Britain’s established lenders is growing.

Sweden’s Handelsbanken, which now has 180 branches open or about to be opened in the UK, said its lending to British businesses increased 7% to £9.1bn in the third quarter, with personal loans increasing 24% to £4.1bn.

The bank’s total lending in the UK is now £13.3bn.

Meanwhile, Metro Bank – the first new UK consumer bank in over a hundred years – said it had increased lending by 146% over the past year to £1.4bn.

Metro Bank, which launched in 2010, has 27 branches in London and the south east, with a further six currently under construction.

Craig Donaldson, chief executive of Metro Bank, said:

“As we enter the final quarter of 2014, we thank our personal and business customers for their ongoing support, and we look forward to bringing our customer focused proposition to more communities across London and the South East.

“The British people need a bank that puts their needs first and offers the best in service and convenience; they need choice on the high street, and we are here to provide that choice.”

The big four banks are under close scrutiny at the moment, with The Financial Conduct Authority – the UK’s competition watchdog – launching an investigation into services for small business customers and personal current accounts.

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