THE UK's first digital-only bank is set to create a further 70 jobs in the North-East after being given a £10m grant to boost competition in lending to small and medium sized businesses.

Atom Bank, which is based in Durham, is using the grant to help it create competition in favour of business customers and deliver a digital toolkit to support the needs of small businesses.

The company, which has its headquarters in Aykley Heads, plans to launch a range of smart lending products, specifically designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), underpinned by Atom's smart contract technology and machine learning capabilities.

Edward Twiddy, chief customer officer, said: “As a fast growing new entrant from the North-East of England we know just how hard it is to get a business off the ground and are committed to supporting smaller businesses with a streamlined and truly digital offering that will allow them to thrive.”

It was awarded £10m from the £425m capability and innovation fund, part of a package administered by Banking Competition Remedies Ltd.

Atom says the funding will help it address overlooked customer needs, deliver change and innovation and drive the UK's economic growth by supporting small businesses

When combined with advanced cashflow management, savings and financial health forecasting, the solution will provide small businesses with clarity on their financial health, reduce barriers when applying for finance and give them more confidence to focus on growth.

It will create a free-to-download and use application available to all SMEs.

Atom will make available an additional £3bn of funding and aims to attract in excess of 340,000 small businesses to its innovative solution by March 2024.

The grant will also help Atom create 70 jobs, including 55 high-skilled jobs, including engineering and data science roles, and a further 15 graduate and apprentice roles.

The bank, which is the the UK's first to be built exclusively for mobile, has lent in excess of £200m to SMEs since its launch in 2016.

The bank’s total lending, for homeowners and small businesses, has grown by 76 per cent in the last year to £2.4bn, supported by growth in deposits from £1.4bn to £1.8bn.