On October 28, 2015, the Competition and Markets Authority published a report setting out its provisional findings related to its investigation into the supply of Personal Current Accounts and banking services to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. The report identifies several competition issues in the PCA and SME banking market, including: (i) small numbers of customers switching to different bank accounts due to banks not being under sufficient competitive pressure to attract customers; (ii) new banks and new products not attracting new customers; and (iii) high numbers of SMEs holding their business accounts in the same banks as their PCAs, with low levels of switching. The report also states that customers that are holders of more expensive accounts are not switching to better value and better quality cheaper accounts, which would be expected in a well-functioning market. The CMA is proposing remedies which include: (i) requiring banks to prompt customers to review the service they receive by receiving individual messages at certain “trigger points”; (ii) encouraging consumers and businesses to compare bank products by using Midata, an industry online tool, that allows consumers to easily access their banking data and compare it with other services; and (iii) creating a price comparison service for SMEs. Responses to the report are invited by November 20, 2015. The CMA also announced that it intends to review the undertakings put in place after the 2002 Competition Commission review into PCA banking in Northern Ireland and into SME banking generally.
The CMA's report is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-proposes-better-deal-for-bank-customers.