Atom changes its serviceability criteria to support more SMEs

Atom bank, the UK’s first app-based bank, has today revamped its serviceability criteria for both variable and fixed rate commercial mortgage products as it looks to improve access to finance and challenge the high street lenders.

The changes will see the serviceability criteria for its lending range simplified, including a headline reduction in minimum debt serviceability to 120% for owner occupied applications and 125% for commercial investment applications.

The serviceability policy for commercial lending is in place to ensure businesses can maintain payments during periods of stressed earnings or cash flow and under a stressed interest rate.

During a particularly volatile time for businesses, Atom is committed to making changes to increase the number of small businesses it is able to help in the current economic environment. It also means  Atom will be able to lend more to individual businesses, assisting them with their growth plans.

Atom has reduced the serviceability threshold for the majority of businesses; as part of the application process serviceability will continue to be reviewed on a case by case basis and the actual threshold will depend on the quality and strength of the business.

Healthcare policy enhancements

Since launch,  Atom has enjoyed significant success in the provision of lending to the social care sector and is now enhancing its healthcare offering to support critical businesses in the dentistry and pharmaceutical sectors, including increasing its maximum LTV and revising a number of other policy requirements.

Across both sectors, the maximum LTV against property for loans below £500k will be increased from 85% to 95%, with a maximum LTV of up to 100% against goodwill value. The management experience required has also been broadened to allow any practising or registered dentists and all practising pharmacists who are registered on the GPhC register to take out a business loan, making it easier for these businesses to access much needed funds.

The news comes on the back of Atom recently expanding its care home offering to serve specialist and children’s care homes.

Tom Renwick, Head of Business Banking at Atom bank commented: “Our serviceability criteria is in place to ensure loans can be repaid during difficult times. While we are currently living through a particularly turbulent period, we felt the time was right to make significant changes to the policy to allow us to offer our award-winning commercial mortgages to more SMEs around the UK.

“We are constantly looking at how we can best offer straightforward, transparent and competitive products to our business customers. We expect that this change will allow more SMEs access to much needed finance, helping them to plan for the future and continue to thrive post-pandemic.

“Atom recognises that changes in the lender environment have hampered access to finance for both the dentistry and pharmaceutical sectors. We have collaborated with our intermediary partners  to enhance our proposition in order to ensure these businesses have the access to the finance they need to achieve their goals and carry on the important work they do.”