METRO Bank opened for business in the town centre yesterday.

There was a party atmosphere outside the bank as music blared, stilt-walkers danced and Mayor Maureen Penny cut the ribbon over the entrance with a giant pair of scissors.

Inside the striking glass building, staff handed out balloons and chatted to potential customers about the bank's benefits near a large mural depicting Wood Street in 1910.

The bank will be open seven days a week, 362 days a year, 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

It has more than 2,000 safe deposit boxes for customers to store valuables, offers instant account-opening and on-the-spot card printing, and has a coin-counting machine that's free for anyone to use.

Mayor Penny said: "I am delighted to be officially opening the Metro Bank Swindon store.

"This new store will be a great addition to our local community and change the way residents and businesses do their banking.”

Manish Vara, manager of the Swindon store, was excited about being part of the newest addition to the town's high street.

He said: "It's fantastic, the interest we've had - even before we opened - has been amazing.

"Everyone's quite excited, the store is in a perfect location, it's a very special day for us.

"This is our gateway to the west of England."

Iain Kirkpatrick, managing director of retail banking at Metro Bank, was enjoying the celebrations.

He said: "When we open a new bank, we like to make a bit of a party, we make a bit of a noise when we arrive in town.

"We don't spend money on TV advertising and rely on word-of-mouth as peer recommendations are how a lot of people choose their bank.

"At other banks, customers often get directed to machines but we focus on face-to-face customer service.

"We hire people with great attitudes and train them with professional qualifications because we believe in rescuing customers from poor service."

Manish added: "We also offer Key Stage 2 accredited learning in primary schools so we'll be reaching out to local schools and running networking events to bring the bank into the community."

Craig Donaldson, CEO at Metro Bank commented: "We’re really excited to be opening our 55th store in the heart of Swindon and to show the community what great customer service and convenience looks like.

"We can’t wait to make a real difference to the Swindon community.”