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Atom Bank delays current accounts over regulatory uncertainty




By Ryan Weeks on 6th June 2017


Leading digital bank will hold off from launching current accounts until at least 2018. 

 

Atom Bank, an app-only bank which has raised around $268m in equity investment to date, is delaying the launch of its current accounts.

 

The firm currently specialises in savings products and lending. Its Fixed Saver account offers savings rates between 1.69 and 2.30 per cent per annum.

 

But the firm does not yet offer current accounts, as some of its rivals (such as Monzo and Starling) do. And according to an article in The Financial Times, the bank has now delayed its planned current account offering until at least 2018.

 

Atom Bank CEO Mark Mullen told the newspaper that the threat of new regulation is the cause of the delay. The FCA recently announced a review of current accounts which will not conclude until next year. This follows on from a similar two year review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

 

Based on the interview, Mullen also appears sceptical about the chances of the CMA keeping to its timetable for delivering open banking. Muddying the waters further still are new global data protection rules that are set to come into force in May of next year, in addition to a payment services directive, slated for the third quarter of 2018.

 

Atom Bank has issued the following statement: 

 

"We’ve taken the tough decision to postpone our current account launch until 2018, at the earliest. The possibility of further regulatory restrictions on current account providers create ambiguity and uncertainty for us. We know the current account is a product our customers want to see, and rest assured that we continue to invest in the technology, payments and operational capabilities needed to make it possible – current account is firmly on our agenda, but we want to get it right and avoid wasting money."

 

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