REGULATORY

FCA interim report on the credit card market published

The Financial Conduct Authority has published its interim report into the credit card market, finding that competition is working fairly well for most consumers. Potential remedies are also included such as better enabling customers to shop around and switch, as well as helping those persons in payment difficulties. 
The FCA, 2 November 2015

CMA retail banking market investigation

Following publication on 22 October 2015 of a summary of its provisional finding, the Competition and Markets Authority has published a full report on its provisional findings following its market investigation into the supply of retail banking services to personal current account customers and to small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK. The report which runs to over 400 pages contains detailed background and analysis. There is now a period of consultation until 20 November 2015 before a final report is published next Spring.
Competition and Markets Authority, 28 October 2015

FCA Handbook Notice 26

The Financial Conduct Authority has published Handbook Notice 26, which includes the instruments made by the board on 24 September 2015 and 22 October 2015. This includes the Accountability and Whistleblowing Instrument 2015 which comes into force variously on 7 March and 7 September 2016.
The FCA, 23 October 2015

PRA consultation on new Fees

The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has published a consultation paper (CP40/15) on the PRA Rulebook and a draft supervisory statement on fees. The consultation runs until 29 December 2015. It replaces that part of the PRA rules inherited from the former Financial Services Authority handbook and aims to introduce a set of rules specific to the needs of PRA-authorised firms. 
Bank of England: PRA, 26 October 2015

UK

BBA: September 2015 figures for high street banks

The British Bankers Association has published data for high street banks for September finding borrowing figures in the mortgage market had remained strong as customers take advantage of low interest rates, in particular, remortgaging. 
British Banker Association, 26 October 2015

SHORT TERM HIGH COST CREDIT

FCA consultation on proposals in response to CMA recommendations on high-cost short-term credit

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a consultation paper (CP15/33) on its proposals in response to the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) recommendations on high-cost short-term (HCST) credit. The consultation runs until 28 January 2016. The CMA's Payday Lending Market Investigation Order 2015 of 13 August 2015 gave effect to certain aspects of the CMA remedies (e.g., the prohibition on the supply of payday loans unless the lender has published information on a price comparison website (PCW) which has been authorised by the FCA, and the prohibition on the supply of payday loans unless customers are provided with a summary of the cost of borrowing). The FCA's proposals concern PCWs which compare HCST credit and concern rankings of such products, advertising, search functionality and the scope of market coverage. The consultation paper also discusses issues such as the rules around lead generators, "shopping around" and real-time data sharing as well as improving disclosure of the costs of borrowing, and in each case whether action has already been taken, is in hand, or that further FCA steps are not required. 
FCA, 28 October 2015

Cases

Unfair terms and notaries

This concerned a loan agreement for a foreign currency mortgage to finance the purchase of an immoveable property on which the borrower had defaulted. The EU Court of Justice gave a preliminary ruling to a reference from the Hungarian courts, holding that Articles 6(1) and 7(1) of the Unfair Contract Terms Directive did not preclude national legislation, which allowed a notary who had drawn up, in due form, an authentic instrument concerning a contract between a bank and a consumer, from affixing an enforcement clause to that instrument or to refusing to cancel it when no review of the unfairness of the contractual terms had been performed at any stage. This was on the basis that notaries exercise a preventive role with respect to unfair terms being called upon to ensure equal treatment, and that it should still be possible to challenge a disputed contract before a court even in the enforcement phase. Whether there was adequate and effective protection in practice was for the national courts to decide.

C-32/14: ERSTE Bank Hungary Zrt v Sugar, Court of Justice of the EU (Third Chamber), 1 October 2015