Online bank Atom has been handed a £30m funding boost to aid growth plans to support British SMEs.

Based in Durham, the firm struck a tier two capital facility deal with British Business Bank Investments (BBBIL), the commercial arm of the British Business Bank.

It will enable Atom Bank to draw on additional cash in a flexible manner as it continues to expand.

READ MORE: Businesses 'don't know where to start' on mental health

Founder and chairman Anthony Thomson said: "Access to tier two capital at such an early stage of the growth cycle is rare and we are extremely pleased to be gaining this support from British Business Bank Investments.

"Together with the British Business Bank, we are sending a clear sign – we are here to support UK SMEs.

"This facility provides us with tremendous flexibility. Like all banks, we are actively managing our capital structure and having access to tier two capital at this stage helps support our growth and is a great result for Atom, its shareholders and customers."

BBBIL's Investment Programme, from which the funds have been secured, has so far committed more than £580m to providers of finance to UK SMEs.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, chief executive of BBBIL, added: "Our investment in Atom Bank demonstrates our commitment to increasing the diversity of small business finance by supporting recently licensed and ambitious challenger banks.

"We have seen challenger banks becoming an increasingly important source of UK SME funding and we believe a committed regulatory capital facility will not only support Atom’s growth trajectory but will also drive the bank’s ability to lend to UK SMEs."