Spanish banking giant BBVA invested £45 million for a 29.5 per cent stake in Atom Bank, which claims to be the UK’s first mobile-only bank.
Atom Bank, which is due to launch in early 2016, received a licence from the UK’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), part of the Bank of England, in June this year.
BBVA’s investment will provide capital for the rollout of Atom’s business in the UK. The Spanish bank will have two seats on the UK bank’s board, as well as the opportunity to participate in future funding rounds and offer its expertise.
BBVA recently hailed the passing of one million downloads for its mobile wallet app less than two years after launch, and claimed it could pass five million by the end of 2016. The wallet is available in five countries: Spain, Mexico, Chile, the US and Turkey.
“BBVA believes the digital market in the UK offers excellent growth opportunities and that digital banks that put the customer first are the future,” said Francisco Gonzalez, BBVA’s chairman and chief executive.
Other shareholders in Atom Bank include Woodford Investment Management and Toscafund Asset Management. In the past 18 months, the bank raised a total of £135 million.