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UK: Banking watchdog to announce measures to boost competition

 |  August 8, 2016

Overdraft fees and an easier system of moving personal and small business accounts are expected to be at the centre of measures intended to bolster competition in the banking sector.

After a two-year investigation into the banking sector, the measures to be published on Tuesday will focus on how customers can switch accounts away from the high street “big four”. Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and HSBC hold more than 70% of the current account and small business sectors that generate £14bn of revenue for the industry a year.

The inquiry, first announced in July 2014 at a time when Labour was promising to create new banks, has been conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority. In its provisional findings, the watchdog backed off from creating new banks and instead focused on switching – although some challenger banks have complained that it is hard to compare “free” accounts, as charges for going into the red are unclear.

One idea is to allow customers to force banks to publish their maximum charges for unauthorised overdrafts.

Full Content: The Guardian

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