A Labour politician who came to prominence during the banking crisis has been appointed to a key role at a start-up bank in the North East.
Lord John McFall, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee from 2001-2010 and then a member of the Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission, has been appointed a senior independent non-executive at Atom Bank.
Atom, which is set to create around 160 new jobs in Durham, will be the country’s first exclusively digital bank and aims to revitalise the region’s financial jobs market.
Lord McFall will have a special role on the board to provide support and challenge to the chairman Anthony Thomson and will also act as a ‘customer champion’ for Atom.
The bank said he had a “deserved reputation for providing robust and thoughtful challenge during one of the most testing times for the UK economy in decades”.
Lord McFall said: “Few people have the chance to guide the building of a bank from its very inception, and this is an opportunity to bring to bear my own personal experience in the financial services industry.
“The UK banking market needs more good businesses that will serve consumers’ interests. With my very expert and equally motivated colleagues on the board we hope to guide the business through the regulatory processes and into the market place to serve that need.”
Also joining Lord McFall on the board of Atom is Patricia Jackson, former senior partner for regulation and banking risk at Ernst and Young, former CFO of first direct Jon Hogan, Ulster Bank and Network Rail board member Bridget Rosewell and Atom’s CEO Mark Mullen. Atom’s chairman Anthony Thomson said: “Lack of effective governance has been the failure of many businesses. Putting in place a strong board now is a key part of our journey towards authorisation and launch.
“As a team we appreciate the importance of getting this right, but as John McFall says we are in a great position to build this business from the right set of principles and with the right motivations.
“The process with the regulatory application is still ongoing but we are now better equipped to do this and we have a board that will not hesitate to do the right thing for customers.”
The firm has been building its core team since the business was first announced in April and now has 40 people working full-time on the project.