Atom Bank postpones launch of current accounts as new rules cloud the outlook

Atom Bank postpones launch of current accounts as new rules cloud the outlook

Digital only Atom Bank has put plans to open a current account on ice as it faces up to a slew of new regulations set to land over the course of the next year.

Led by experienced bankers in CEO Mark Mullen and chairman Anthony Thomson, the challenger received its banking license in June 2015 and launched operations in April 2016, offering two fixed-saver accounts and secured business lending for SMEs.

An £83 million raise in March was seen as the prelude for a move into the UK's current account market, but these plans have now been put on the back-burner as the bank waits to assess the impact of new regulations in payments, open banking and data protection.

Speaking to the FT, CEO Mullen said that the threat of new regulation meant the current account launch would be “certainly not in 2017, and maybe not even in 2018”.

Mullen expressed his frustration at the uncertainty clouding the market ahead of a wave of regulatory upheaval for the industry.

“Taken together, they combine to create both ambiguity and uncertainty," he told the FT. "We will still launch a [personal current account], but we also want to get it right and avoid wasting money.”

He added that Atom was investing in the technology, payments and operational capabilities to make it all possible in the meantime “as it’s still firmly on our agenda”.

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