Spanish bank BBVA has ploughed £45 million into the UK's Atom Bank, becoming the largest shareholder in the digital-only startup with a 29.5% stake.
The £45 million investment brings total funds raised by Atom to £135m in the 18 months since the founding team came together.
More importantly BBVA's stake brings added heft to the business - founded by former Metro Bank chief Anthony Thomson and ex-First Direct CEO Mark Mullen - as it prepares for launch in early 2016.
The Spanish bank is an avowed disciple of the transformational power of digital and mobile banking to overturn established business models. The bank acquired US neo-bank Simple for $117 million last year, set up a $100 million venture fund to invest in fintech startups and established a digital banking and data analytics unit charged with leading the bank on its next evolutionary steps into the digital world
Mark Mullen, Atom’s CEO, says: "It is a huge vote of confidence in our team, business model and indeed the future of competition in UK banking that BBVA are coming on this journey with us.”
BBVA chairman Francisco Gonzalez has been an outspoken advocate of the digital revolution in banking, stating that in the future all banks will be software companies.
"Digital banks that put the customer first are the future,” he says. “BBVA’s investment in Atom backs those beliefs in one move”.
Atom is already in a live trial and will move shortly to an invitation-only release before an open public launch in early 2016.