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February 16, 2021

Atom bank and Plaid join forces to lend SMEs a hand

Keith Grose

All around the globe, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face obstacles like low productivity, high rates of business failure, and inefficient access to credit—all of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In much of the world, SMEs account for more than 90% of all businesses yet only see a small fraction of overall lending.

Open Banking data has the potential to help alleviate many, if not most, of these problems. However, while it’s given SMEs the right to access their data, few resources have been dedicated to fulfilling its larger promise for this crucial sector of the economy. Thankfully, neobanks like Atom have stepped in to fill the void. 

The power of Atom + Plaid 
Atom is an entirely digital, app-based bank without physical branches. They offer retail customers and SMEs financial products and services, including fixed-term savings accounts (Fixed Savers) and mortgages, accessible through a smartphone or tablet. Most recently, they’ve made business loans available through a small panel of brokers.

Now, Plaid is joining forces with Atom to offer SME owners a streamlined application journey to these loans. With Plaid-enabled Open Banking data, Atom can now offer near real-time lending decisions to small and medium-sized businesses. Enhanced connectivity to businesses’ banking data also allows Atom to anticipate SME financing needs to  deliver an array of informed and responsible smart lending products. 

The key lies in Plaid’s access to up-to-date transactional records, which will help Atom verify income, derive affordability, identify risk indications and mitigate the risks associated with outdated information and lagging data. In addition to data access, Plaid’s Payment Initiation will help streamline the payment of application fees.

Just the beginning 
This is only the first phase of our work together: in the future, Plaid’s services will be rolled out to other Atom products, including savings and residential mortgages. By using Open Banking data that Plaid unlocks, Atom will preempt borrowing, help grow users’ money and react in real-time to changes in financial situations—offering actionable nudges and personalised services delivered at just the right moment. 

If you’re looking to build with Plaid’s account information or payment initiation products today—please reach out!