ANTITRUST

EU Investigates Anti-Competitive Bank Practices

The European Commission announced it had conducted inspections into banks’ alleged anti-competitive practices in some EU states.

According to a Reuters news report, the EU has concerns about the banks limiting rival financial firms from gaining legitimate online access to their customers’ data.

Although it didn’t name a specific company, an EU statement said that the companies involved “may have engaged in anti-competitive practices in breach of EU antitrust rules.” These practices could have then prevented non-bank competitors from gaining online access to customer account information in order to provide financial services – even after they received prior authorization from the customers.

In fact, FinTech companies that provide lending, payment and other financial services have been complaining about banks limiting their access to customers.

As PYMNTS previously reported, FinTech companies in Europe surprised the banks, who were slow to invest in the changes happening in the financial sectors. With FinTechs poaching their customers, European banks have been trying to find ways to compete, such as eyeing acquisitions of startups to obtain new technology, as well as upgrading their digital backbones to support technology advancements and fight off cybercrime.

The unannounced antitrust inspections were carried out on Oct. 3, and are a preliminary step into suspected practices that may not result in formal accusations.

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