West London customers were swept up in a panic after rumours sparked on WhatsApp groups telling Metro Bank customers that the contents of their safety deposit boxes were no longer safe, and to stampede their way to their local branch and withdraw their belongings immediately. So of course, that's exactly what they did.
The Evening Standard reports that the messages started doing the rounds on Saturday, and shortly afterwards, Twitter users began posting photos from branches that were crammed with people. It seems that they were under the impression that the bank was taking possession of the contents of safety deposit boxes.
"This is something that started on Saturday and especially very localised in the west London area,” said Abigail Whittaker, a spokesperson for Metro Bank. "We’re aware there were increased queries in some stores about safe deposit boxes following false rumours about Metro Bank on social media and messaging apps.
"There is no truth to these rumours and we want to reassure our customers that there is no reason to be concerned."
Metro Bank branch in Harrow packed with people trying to withdraw funds pic.twitter.com/KXLv954jIX
— Patrick O'Brien (@pat_gdretail) May 11, 2019
Whittaker went on to clarify that "under all circumstances the contents of safe deposit boxes remain customer property, not the property of Metro Bank.”
It's speculated that the rumours were started after Metro Bank's share prices dipped, although the bank was keen to quash that idea, saying there was "no connection whatsoever".