Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister Praises North East's Financial Sector; TECHNOLOGY

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Minister Praises North East's Financial Sector; TECHNOLOGY

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM KEIGHLEY tom.keighley@ncjmedia.co.uk

ATREASURY minister has praised the role the North East's financial sector is building a banking industry outside London.

Harriett Baldwin, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, visited Newcastle-based Virgin Money and Durham's Atom Bank yesterday as part of her programme to champion new entrants to the banking sector outside of the capital.

The minister's visit to the region coincided with an announcement that Atom Bank and Durham University have launched a three-year collaborative project which takes maths to the heart of the bank.

Partly-funded by Innovate UK under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme, the project will put a Durham maths graduate into the bank who will use statistical research to examine relationships between banking activities.

Insights from the research will provide Atom with ideas to develop a competitive edge.

Speaking to the Journal, Mrs Baldwin said: "Competition is a very important aspect of how we get the market to work for the benefit of everyone.

"We have set a target of creating 15 new banks in the course of this parliament, and Atom is a superb example with its innovative model.

"It's great they've chosen the North East as their base - using the advantages of the region's skilled workforce. Some 45,000 people in the North East are employed in financial services, so that just shows the strength of the sector in this part of the country."

The Minister said the Government would help to encourage other financial sector start-ups like Atom in the North East by investing in infrastructure.

She added: "Dualing of the A1, making sure the region's universities are top of the heap and building on the fantastic airport links here are all crucial to growth of the sector. …

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