The Competition and Markets Authority has extended the timetable for its investigation into the retail banking market to August 12, 2016 and published for consultation revised proposals to remedy the adverse effects on competition identified in its provisional report. The CMA’s report was originally scheduled for publication in February 2016. The 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) a lack of transparency making comparison of different providers difficult; (ii) due to (i) and the perception that it is burdensome / the lack of confidence in switching services, small numbers of customers switching to different bank accounts; (iii) new banks and new products not attracting new customers, leading to the established banks having incumbency advantages; and (iv) high numbers of SMEs holding their business accounts in the same banks as their PCAs, with low levels of switching. The CMA also noted the general disadvantage faced by SMEs in terms of limited choice compared to larger customers. Following that report, the CMA proposed certain remedies, including (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. Feedback to the initial consultation on the proposed remedies was that they would not sufficiently redress the adverse effects on competition. The revised remedy proposals seek to address those weaknesses. Feedback on the revised proposals are due by March 21, 2016.
The revised remedy proposals are available at: https://assets.digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/56dd1b1140f0b6037900000a/Supplemental_notice_of_possible_remedies_March_2016.pdf and the revised timetable is available at: https://assets.digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/56d9bcc8ed915d0376000006/Retail_banking_market_investigation_case_timetable_-_7-3-16.pdf.