CMA retail banking investigation – PwC comments

Published at 08:13 AM on 22 October 2015

Commenting on today's publication of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) retail banking investigation provisional findings, Simon Hunt, PwC’s UK banking and capital markets leader, said:

“The CMA has today focused on the low levels of customer engagement with their banks. Customer apathy around switching their current account is the real issue, which can be linked to the lack of significant differentiation between current account providers and, arguably, limited transparency and ease of comparability between the products on offer. However, the CMA has not ignored the fact that most customers are satisfied with their banking arrangements.

"Many customers, particularly small businesses and overdraft users, could benefit substantially from easier shopping around and switching of banking providers. The lack of focus by the CMA on free, if in credit, current accounts could be a missed opportunity to really shake up a model which is arguably unsustainable and stifles competition through its lack of transparency.

“The rise of FinTech has also started to bring more competition into the retail banking market and we’re likely to see its full impact over the next two to three years. Our research has shown that as technology in the financial services sector matures, customer switching rates could double, costs for the industry could reduce by 30% and profit pools at banks could shrink by 10-20%.

"Overall, today's findings will probably be seen positively by the larger banks as the CMA have not found evidence of excessive profits, have steered clear of proposing an end to free banking and have not suggested further divestments. The challenger banks may, however, be disappointed that the proposed remedies do not go further”


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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