Competition Commission to publish aims of banking inquiry

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Competition Commission has said it will publish a letter next week setting out the issues that it will look at in the course of its 18- month inquiry into the supply of banking services to small and medium-sized businesses.

The Competition Commission has said it will publish a letter next week setting out the issues that it will look at in the course of its 18- month inquiry into the supply of banking services to small and medium-sized businesses.

It will be publishing details of proposed remedies next February if it decides these are required, ahead of the final report being submitted to the Government on 19 June next year. The inquiry follows the publication in March this year of the report of an investigation by Don Cruickshank, the former telecoms regulator, which said that banks were making £5bn a year in excess profits and identified small business banking as an area that deserved a full public inquiry.

Details of the timetable were issued yesterday at public hearings that took evidence from the big four banks and consumer pressure groups.

Derek Morris, the chairman of the Commission who has ushered in an era of glasnost in competition policy, said that the public hearings offered an important opportunity both for the public to be involved but also for those making submissions to be aware of what others were saying. He said he would be encouraging those giving evidence to make public their written submissions.

Donald Martin, UK policy chairman of the Federation of Small Business said: "If small business suffered the level of complaints that the banks receive they would go out of business."

David Pritchard of Lloyds Bank repeated his submission to the Cruickshank Inquiry that there was no evidence that banks made supra-normal profits from small business banking when the entire economic cycle was taken into account.

Comments