Atom, the UK’s first app-only bank, has reached its 2020-21 lending targets one month ahead of schedule following a large interest for its CBILS-backed secured loans.
In March 2021, Durham-based Atom announced that it had issued 1,251 quotes for its secured CBILS loans using its Quick Quote tool, resulting in over 700 applications with a value of well over £500millon, which includes £150million received in the first week of March. With competitively priced, secured business lending products and a history of lending to UK SMEs since 2016, Atom has been able to secure commercial finance to new and existing customers throughout the pandemic.
Causes for the surge of interest
Almost uniquely amongst neobanks, Atom has continued to originate its own Business Secured Lending, alongside the government-backed CBILS scheme, with £52million of lending to 132 businesses. In total, Atom has seen a tripling of the value of business loans on its balance sheet in the last 12 months to reach a current position of £700million.
Driven by this surge in business lending activity and the bank’s continuing growth in high-value mortgage lending, Atom is on course to achieve 100bps of Net Interest Margin (NIM) by the end of March 2021 and to break even during the second half of the 2021/22 financial year.
David Castling, Atom’s Director of Intermediary Lending, said: “We issued our first quotes under the CBILS scheme back in May 2020 with little knowledge that the scheme would be around for nearly a full year. The speed of response of both the bank and our broker community in pulling together to provide much-needed finance to businesses in the UK has been nothing short of phenomenal. To have issued £1billion of quotes on complex lending is an astonishing effort, and I’m delighted that we have been able to take £500million of applications over the same period. Having hit our ambitions early, and with more help for business confirmed in The Budget, now is the right time for us to focus on getting CBILS applications turned into loans in the hands of SMEs.”
Having surpassed the year’s lending target Atom is now focussing on supporting applicants to the offer stage and then completion against the deadlines of the CBILS scheme. Following announcements in The Budget that the government support for business lending will continue under a new scheme, Atom will be applying to be an eligible lender in the new Recovery Loan Scheme and plans to be offering competitively priced loans to new and existing customers under the RLS as soon as possible.
Paul Elliott, Head of Business Banking at Atom, added: “UK SMEs continue to look to Atom as a trusted lender for their business needs. We give quick decisions, offer competitive prices and support customers when they need it the most. We put a lot of energy into helping our existing customers through the pandemic and supporting new customers with CBILS and other lending. The Chancellor’s announcement of the Recovery Loan Scheme is great news for business and, subject to admittance into the new scheme, we plan to remain part of the answer for UK SMEs by offering great value loans under RLS during the rest of 2021.”