A new bank is setting up its headquarters in Durham to serve the whole UK, creating up to 400 jobs.
The team behind the Atom bank – which claims to be the UK’s first digital only bank – has chosen the city’s Aykley Heads area as the base for its operations.
It was announced earlier in the year that Atom would be based in the region and the Aykley Heads decision follows a detailed search across the North East to find the best location for the launch and growth of the business.
Initially the firm will occupy space within the council-owned Northumbria House and expand to fill the building before it launches to customers in the first half of 2015.
The chairman of the Atom board is Anthony Thomson, who was founder and former chairman of Metro Bank.
He said: "This is a great step forward for Atom. Durham has the perfect combination of accessibility, talent and a fantastic working environment for a business that needs to challenge an industry and offer a great level of service all day, every day. Having settled on Durham as the ideal location for Atom, we found the County Council and Business Durham to be welcoming, forward looking and able to reach decisions quickly to help us into premises. This decision cements Atom’s commitment to a future in the North East and the team is looking forward to building more and deeper links across the region in the coming months and years."
Atom will not have any branches for retail customers – although there will be some for business banking – and will not offer telephone banking. Instead, transactions will purely be online and via mobile phones.
According to figures from the British Bankers’ Association, there were 18.6 million transactions a week last year through apps, more than double the year before.
Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: "This is a very significant step in the development of what is a key site in the County Durham Plan; a site which we believe has the potential to be a powerful economic driver for the county and wider region.
"Alongside the creation of hundreds of jobs this sends a very strong message that Durham is a forward thinking, business-minded county ready and waiting to do what it takes to help companies deliver on their ambitions."
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