Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is calling for the country’s biggest lenders to provide more information around the full costs of accounts to clients instead of breaking up to improve competition across the industry, said a recent Reuters report.
The competition regulator has the authority to break up banks that are considered too dominant in the industry but has decided against this move and has since argued that creating smaller banks will not be an end to the issues the market is facing.
Industry watchdogs and lawmakers have initially suggested splitting up the U.K.’s largest banks—Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC—which provides the country with nine out of 10 business loans.
Reuters said that in November last year, the competition authority conducted a thorough review of the market and in its first set of recommendations the CMA dropped the axe on the idea of requiring banks to charge additional fees to customers that are in debt because there was a lack of evidence that showed free accounts affected competition.
The CMA found that a number of competition issues between personal current accounts (PCA) and small-and-medium-sized enterprise (SME) stemmed from customers who did not have a sufficient amount of new products and attractive packages to keep them from switching accounts.
The CMA also recommended that customers should carefully review information and services that they receive from financial intuitions so that they can make informed decisions and make it easier for smaller companies to think about their options.
Free banking has been a hotly debated topic as consumer groups have highlighted that banks generate money from interest rates set on personal accounts, which are often lower than the rate imposed by the Bank of England.