Fintech

Atom Bank: Establishing an entirely new, remote team for the UK’s first fully digital bank.

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Client name

Atom Bank
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Client country of origin

United Kingdom
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Time to "Go live"

6+ months
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Kick-off date

July 2021
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Atom

About the project

Atom Bank is a modern retail bank in the UK. What divides it from others is a different approach from what we get used to thinking about “bank.” There are no bank facilities in the streets, no leaflets, and no “elevator music” in the queue. There are no queues because Atom fits your pocket, and at the same time, it’s safe because it is the first entirely digital bank to be granted a full UK regulatory license. So Atom is an actual bank, not a “financial app.”

When Atom Bank contacted NxTide in June 2021, we were excited. Every project sounds like the beginning of a new journey and a chance to work with another unicorn. The brief showed the complexity and challenge of developing the first fully digital bank in the UK. We knew this was in line with our mission and client ambitions.

Business challenge

The rapid pace of the IT sector and mobile banking growth caused by the global market situation resulted in difficulties in the availability of hi-tech specialists in the UK market. This, combined with Brexit, made it impossible to hire foreign specialists, which effectively hindered Atom Bank’s further dynamic growth.

Atom Bank was looking for a solution tailored to its needs and aspirations. They were looking for experienced, high-quality programmers to complement the existing UK team and add engineering capacity. This solution could increase Atom Bank’s ability to deliver business changes fast.

Problems that Atom Bank faced:

  • Shortage of skillful developers in UK pool High salary requirements in the IT sector in the UK

  • The concentration of IT professionals in the London area

  • Rapid market fluctuations due to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Brexit and restrictions came out of it.

Problems that NxTide faced:

  • High market demand for top-quality IT experts

  • Unfamiliarity with the Atom’s Bank brand in Poland

  • The need to build Atom Bank’s internal image as an actual employer of developers rather than a customer of NxTide

  • The shortage of IT specialists with a banking background.

Business solution

After several meetings, both companies came to a conclusion. The solution would be to create an entirely new, functional team of 30 developers and lay the foundations for Atom Bank’s nearshore engineering team in Poland in less than 12 months. (The agreement would be based on an innovative Build-Operate-Transfer model, which allows the Atom Bank to transfer ownership of the software hub after a certain time).

Why Poland?

The chosen location was not a surprise. Poland has become a software powerhouse in the EU area in recent years. Here are some facts:

  • Poland is the leader in mobile and online banking. Nearly half of the Polish population uses mobile banking Poland was ranked 34th most digital economy in the World (according to Digital Intelligence Index, 2020).

  • In 2020 Poland participated in EU Code Week and was the first EU country with the highest number of activities organized and attracting the highest number of participants (according to Digital Economy and Society Index, 2021).

  • Poland is of the four biggest employers in the R&D and ICT sector in the EU27 (among France, Germany, and Italy). (according to Digital Economy and Society Index, 2021).

  • The total number of software developers in Poland exceeded 600 000 in 2021, making it the largest talent pool in the CEE region.

  • Poland has a great and modern infrastructure and legal framework allowing western-based companies to set up operations much faster and in a safer way.

The achievements after the first eight months

  • First, and for the most we have managed to accomplish Atom Bank’s nearshore engineering team development two months ahead of the initial schedule. The average time to contract was less than four weeks.

  • Over 30 hi-end engineers were contracted to Atom Bank’s dream team (7 different technologies: .net, React, Golang, Java, iOs, Android, SRE/DevOps). – The level of experience of developers: from strong regulars to technical leaders.

  • We have helped increase Atom Bank’s velocities, especially for the mobile app, which increased the number of features and releases significantly in 2021.

  • We have built a trust between NxTide developers and Atom Bank (100% of NxTide developers surveyed are interested in transferring to Atom Bank).

  • We have gained Atom’s trust that allows us to enter other than engineering fields of recruitment for Atom: RPA, AI, Business Analyst, VBA.

  • We have conducted two 360-degree feedback sessions.

  • We have organized two Agile training sessions delivered by NxTide coaches.

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