On January 29, 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority announced that it is likely to extend the timetable for its investigation into the retail banking market. A decision on the extension is expected to be taken in March 2016, when a timetable for publication of the final report will also be published. The report was originally scheduled for publication in February 2016. A provisional report, published in October 2015, identified several competition issues in the Personal Current Accounts and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises 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 CMA states that, further to its provisional findings, a number of new suggestions have been made for achieving better outcomes for current account customers and that it wishes to ensure that there is enough time to hear from interested parties so that all of the proposals can be considered properly.
The press release is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/extension-to-cma-retail-banking-market-investigation and the CMA’s provisional report is available at: http://finreg.shearman.com/uk-competition-and-markets-authority-proposes-rem.