The five challenger banks focusing on IT to stand out in the retail crowd

Following its regulatory approval, Atom Bank – which has spurred on a number of digital competitors such as Mondo – is set to launch in 2015 with its products and services delivered through an app. 

Digital startup Mondo aims to follow in Atom Bank's footsteps to overhaul British banking

The bank’s head of IT, Stewart Bromley, said that because Atom was designed for an app rather than a branch, it would be fundamentally different to traditional banks.

Atom Bank founder Anthony Thomson, the former chairman of Metro Bank, told low operating costs at the bank may result in financial benefits for its customers.

The bank’s website explained: “We think customers want value for money, with service at the touch of a button. A bank that’s fair and transparent, that acts in the best interest of its customers. One that really doesn’t act like a bank at all.

“And we’re digital, because we believe technology makes life easier and puts you in control. It can even bring people closer together.”

Lintel has also started applying for a banking licence. The bank describes itself as: “A helpful, different and better bank, currently in the process of applying for authorisation from the Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority.”

Through online and telephone services, founder and former IT professional Nazzim Ishaque plans to mostly cater to the SME market – and will do see with speed. As the company plans to use an off-the-shelf core banking system from a third-party supplier, Ishaque has allegedly promised that it could open an account for a British citizen in just two minutes.

It suggested that user experience was the top priority. 

Ishaque also explained that the bank would be working with retailers to link accounts to loyalty programmes. “We want to enable automatic discounts at the point of sale.”

Last on the list, and using a completely different method, is private bank Hampden. Based in Edinburgh, it has decided to operate on a cloud-based platform from Oracle.

Oracle’s software will manage Hampden’s core banking, as well as direct and mobile banking operations. 

The managed service from Oracle aims to aggregate data from different sources to allow the bank to better understand customers and offer personalisation.

Hampden CEO Graeme Hartop said: “We view delivery of outstanding client service as a priority, which in today’s world needs to be supported by the best technological core banking platform available.”

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