CMA retail banking investigation – PwC comments in advance

Published at 10:58 AM on 21 October 2015

In advance of tomorrow’s publication of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) retail banking investigation of the supply of personal current accounts and of banking services to small and medium-sized enterprises, Simon Hunt, PwC’s UK banking and capital markets leader, said:

“Personal account holders and SMEs have more banking choice now than they have ever had. This has arisen from a combination of developments in technology, new entrants spotting market opportunities, and lower regulatory entry levels. It is fair to say that many of these new entrants have struggled to scale their operations and take significant market share from the larger banks.

“Increased transparency on perceived ‘free’ current accounts is a step in the right direction for tackling deeply embedded issues with trust. Bringing hidden charges to the surface will allow customers to see what kind of deal they are really getting on their current accounts, making it easier to compare current account providers, therefore, encouraging competition and switching.

“The CMA has a difficult role to play. Maintaining and increasing competition could be difficult and the pricing of current accounts, credit assessment and lending is always a challenge. New entrants may be acquired by traditional banks thereby reducing competition again. Regulation of new entrants, shadow banking and Fin Tech start-ups will increase which could also restrict innovation and competition.

“However, this is a new age for banking - it is now the fight for the digital customer. Digital customers can pick and choose, switch, complain and compare more easily than ever before when it comes to banking. Technology such as the smartphone and all the things it can do, from facial recognition authentication to Bitcoin payments, will drive competition in the sector from now on. Creating the right landscape for competition is the role of the government, banks and their customers.”


Notes to editor

  • PwC's report and press release on free banking  (containing data on free banking customer sentiment), There’s no such thing as a free lunch: Why fees are the future for current accounts, can be accessed here:

Media contact:

Katherine Howbrook, PwC media relations, Tel: 020 7212 2711, Email: [email protected]



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