Metro Bank founder and chairman Vernon Hill has stepped down with immediate effect following a difficult year for the troubled lender.

The colourful American entrepreneur insisted the “best is yet to come” for the group as his departure was brought forward.

Metro Bank said in July that Mr Hill would step down, but stay on as president and a non-executive director.

He will now resign from his position as chairman and remain as a non-executive director until December 31, taking on the honorary position of emeritus chairman to “recognise Vernon’s extraordinary contribution to Metro Bank”.

Sir Michael Snyder, senior independent director at Metro Bank, has been appointed as interim chairman until a permanent successor is appointed.

It comes ahead of the group’s third-quarter trading update after market close on Wednesday.

Mr Hill said: “I wish all of our fans – Metro Bank’s customers, colleagues and shareholders – every success for the next stage of the journey.

“As always, the best is yet to come.”

Sir Michael said: “The board thanks Vernon for his vision which inspired and created Metro Bank 10 years ago.

“He leaves a lasting legacy of creating fans through exceptional customer service and has revolutionised British banking.”

Metro Bank has been under pressure, with its shares decimated since the start of 2019 after it revealed a £900 million accounting blunder in January.

Mr Hill’s departure comes after months of pressure from investors and regulators who expressed unease about his decision to remain on the company board despite resigning as chairman.

The bank’s troubles were compounded when it was forced to abandon a bond offer, initially planned to secure £250 million.

The group relaunched fundraising plans earlier this month, looking to raise £300 million, which soared to around £475 million on strong demand from investors.

Mr Hill co-founded the bank more than eight years ago, focusing on building customer-friendly branches.

However, the business has faced questions over the viability of its high street-led model in a banking industry increasingly moving to digital.

Shares in Metro Bank lifted as much as 2% on Wednesday.

Russ Mould, AJ Bell investment director, said: “Investors will hope his (Mr Hill’s) parting words that ‘the best is yet to come’ prove more prophetic than the ambitious promises made back at the company’s IPO in 2016.”

He added: “The company may have raised funds at the second attempt to shore up its capital position earlier this month, but it will be interesting to see if Hill’s departure leads to a change of approach for the business going forward.”