DURHAM law firm Swinburne Maddison completed more than £75m of Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans for Atom bank between June 2020 and 31 August 2021.

A Government-backed scheme, CBILS was introduced as a lifeline to assist SME firms with a turnover of less than £45 million that had lost or experienced deferred revenues because of the impact of COVID-19.

Swinburne Maddison has been working with Atom since its formation and is a member of Atom’s legal panel for secured business lending.

The team totalled 107 loans amounting to £75 million primarily by the commercial property team with the corporate team on hand to assist with any corporate and commercial elements of funding requests when required.

Read more: Atom bank staff switch to four-day working week with no pay cut

The volume of work was such that at the peak of demand, eight lawyers from across the firm were working on the cases.

The Durham-headquartered Atom, established in 2014, was the UK’s first app-based bank and as such, instructions came to Swinburne Maddison from all over the UK throughout the pandemic, with loans ranging in value from £99,990 to £5 million.

Nineteen loans were above £1 million and 47 were over £500,000, while a company in Bedford received the maximum loan available through CBILS of £5 million and one Middlesbrough company received the seventh highest loan of £2.2 million.

Dealing with various underwriters and teams, Swinburne Maddison had to review the titles to any properties and carry out appropriate due diligence on any assets, as well as ensuring the correct documentation was completed.

Partner and head of real estate, Victoria Walton, said: "Each transaction relied on significant volumes of documentation to be provided by those seeking funding, which was not always available until quite late in the transaction.

"We were also very conscious that these loans represented a lifeline for many of the businesses we were dealing with, so there was an enormous amount of pressure on our team to co-ordinate everything."


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