Backed by Spanish banking giant BBVA, Atom Bank will offer secured lending to SME businesses, available through a number of specialist business intermediaries. However, to start with, its offering competitive fixed term savings only.
Mark Mullen, CEO, Atom Bank, said, “This is the start of a remarkable transformation of the banking landscape for everyone. Atom aims to offer a genuine alternative to the insidious and self-interested banks that dominate the UK banking landscape. Our approach will be to constantly evolve and extend our offering, with monthly updates to our app and a dedication to providing better value, greater transparency and a much more innovative banking experience.”
Just the mobile
The neobank — a term for digital only banks — promises to make app enhancements throughout the year, with a phased roll-out of services. Other services that are expected to be rolled out by the end of the year include current accounts, overdrafts, debit and credit cards, instant access savings and residential mortgages, all serviced via the app.
Bot’s the way
Account opening is entirely paper-free, using face and voice biometrics to login into the app. The company claims that the app has been built on the Unity gaming platform; and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help optimize its customer service team. Atom Bank has partnered with WDS, a Xerox company to help it provide the machine learning technology.
The WDS Virtual Agent software tool that’s been integrated into the app allows customers to self-serve and get get immediate answers directly from the app. The technology learns through experience, analyzing customer behavior, problems and solution success rates, and the more the system deals with an issue, the more efficient and effective it gets in providing solutions. The WDS Virtual Agent uses analytics to capture the context of each customer inquiry and deliver relevant responses and solutions.
Helen Wilson, Head (Consumer Services), Atom Bank, said:
“We are setting out to offer a very different banking experience for our customers, using advanced technology to help provide customers with easy and intuitive ways to manage their money. Ensuring help is always available is vitally important to us and the WDS Virtual Agent is an intelligent way of us helping our customers.”
Human help is not far away
What if the app can’t fix a problem? WDS is also providing Atom with its Agent IQ software, which guides the 24/7 customer support team with the best questions to ask customers, along with supplying the best solutions. This software will also learn, which agents are getting the best results. It will feed the learning to the rest of the team, to enable customer query handling in the best way.
David Fox, Head (European Financial Services), Xerox, added, “Together, these two services help deliver a consistent, secure customer experience through multiple channels, such as voice, email or webchat, paving the way for customer loyalty and growth. Atom’s disruptive business model will help advance our ability to re-define the customer experience.”
The gaming factor
The challenger bank in March this year, acquired the IT development business — Grasp (UK) Limited, to strengthen its IT team. Brian Jobling, owner of Grasp joined Atom as its Business Development Director.
The Grasp’s team brought with it User-Interface expertise from the banking industry and a rich
experience from the video gaming industry. Atom claims that the combined experience in 3D technology and design visualization will drive the differentiation of Atom’s customer’s experience.
A bit of history
Atom Bank was founded in April 2014 and is led by Mark Mullen as CEO, and Anthony Thomson as the Chairman. Prior to joining the startup, Mullen was CEO of HSBC’s online and telephone bank First Direct.
The neobank has raised in excess of £135 million (approximately $190 million) in capital through the support of a group of over 40 private and institutional investors, including BBVA, Woodford Investment Management, Polar Capital and Jon Moulton. It was first granted a restricted license in June 2015 and now a full unrestricted license to offer personal and business banking services.
Atom is however, not the first neobank. It’s been almost four years since neobanks have been around. The prominent ones include Moven, GoBank, and Simple. Some other neobanks opening later this year in the UK include Mondo, Starling Bank, and Tandem.
Check out the video above, to see the highlights of the app.