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Woodford-backed challenger bank launches

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Atom Bank, the challenger bank backed by Neil Woodford, has launched after being granted its banking licence.

The branch-fee bank has launched its banking app, nine months after getting its banking licence. The challenger bank had originally planned to launch in 2015.

The app is available to all pre-registered customers on iPads and iPhones, with an Android version to be launched shortly.

The bank will launch more services this year, including current accounts, debit and credit cards, mortgages, and savings accounts.

Atom Bank received £135m in funding ahead of the launch, with Woodford being an early backer. The bank makes up 0.15 per cent of the £8.3bn CF Woodford Equity Income fund, and 1.36 per cent of the £733m Patient Capital Trust.

Atom’s founder and chairman Anthony Thomson says: “The team has achieved something that simply hasn’t been done before. We believe we have built a bank in record time, and we’re not planning to stop here.

“The app offers a completely new way to bank, using face and voice biometrics to log-in to the app, with paper-free account opening in just a few taps.”

Woodford first invested in Atom Bank in December 2014, then adding to the position in June last year after it was granted its banking licence.

The bank was then added to the Patient Capital Trust in November last year. At the time Woodford Investment Management said: “We have been impressed by the progress that the Atom team has made thus far. The company is very well-placed to deliver strong long-term growth with its innovative, customer-focused, digital business model.”

Other original investors include Polar Capital, former Goldman Sachs chair Jim O’Neill and ex-Brewin Dolphin chief operating officer Simon Still.

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