Atom bank announces today at Sibos in London that the mobile-only bank will be shifting from third-party data centres to Google Cloud in order to keep pace with digitally savvy customers and offer new services.
Ahead of this news, Finextra spoke to Atom bank Chief Technology Officer Rana Bhattacharya about how ready UK regulators are ready to accept cloud-based banks, the limits of on-premise technology and the future of cloud.
Bhattacharya highlights that at the time that Atom bank launched in April 2016, regulators had not published a clear position in regard to cloud hosting of banking software, so they were encouraged to establish their institution on a data centre model.
“As we progressed, that bank gave us the balance sheet view that we wanted, but we couldn’t become the bank we wanted to be using that model, because we could not create new products and services rapidly, inhibiting the change we want to introduce.
“When regulators addressed cloud, it became imperative to embrace the opportunity and start the journey to effectively build a bank in the cloud. However, it is not only about migrating our data to the cloud, it is about rearchitecting the bank to be used successfully in the cloud,” Bhattacharya says.
Why Google? Bhattacharya explains that when searching for a cloud partner that Atom could have “an enterprise-enterprise dialogue” with, Google stood out because of their big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities which allowed the bank to ensure that leveraging data became the bedrock of their business.
He adds that “the level of resilience and security you get from working with the likes of Google, you cannot build yourself. That will make a dramatic difference to our customers as we switch on this capability in the next few months.”
Google has been an ally to Atom bank and has offered collaboration opportunities such as hackathons; the cloud provider has also supported to train bank employees.
Bhattacharya concludes by saying that “As banking evolves to become more interconnected, banks will no longer just be banks because they will be partnering with other providers outside of your core industry to create value: SME business is one of these areas.”
Atom bank was awarded a grant of £10 million to boost lending to SMEs earlier this year and will use an additional £15 million of their own money to further develop business banking by March 2024.