Challenger bank Atom gains BoE licence

Mark Mullen, Atom Bank
Mark Mullen, Atom Bank
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British challenger bank Atom said it had secured its licence by the Bank of England, and planned to launch products and services to customers later this year.

Atom, which is headquartered in the Northeast of England, is pursuing a low-cost, digital approach to retail banking and plans to offer its services online rather than in high-street branches.

The bank - one of several so-called ‘challenger’ lenders set up to compete with dominant bluechip banks such as Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland - has raised £25m so far from investors including investment industry veteran Neil Woodford.

It said chairman Anthony Thomson, chief executive Mark Mullen and chief financial officer Dave McCarthy were currently raising additional balance sheet capital for Atom’s launch.

Mr Mullen said: “This is a wonderful vote of confidence in Atom. Atom will offer a quality of digital experience without parallel in this sector or in many others. Our team reflects this.

“Between us we’ve built and run some of the most highly respected banks in the UK, brought ground-breaking innovation to manufacturing and service businesses, and created great software with a worldwide reach. Now all of this is being poured into building Atom so that customers will have a bank in their pocket that is ready whenever and wherever they need it.”

Having raised £25m to build the bank, Mr Thomson, Mr Mullen and Mr McCarthy are currently raising the balance sheet capital for Atom’s launch.

Edward Twiddy, Atom’s chief operating and innovation officer, said: “We’ve set about designing a banking app that’s in tune with how people think about their money.

“Our customer service team will provide support and technical expertise to customers all-day and everyday by phone, chat and email and through social media. Our customers will also have access to the UK and international ATM network and the ability to pay in cash and cheques when needed.”

Atom has 100 permanent and contract staff and is set to employ at least another 60 before the end of the year.