The U.K. Office of Fair Trading will review whether a lack of competition in banking is hampering lending and other services to small and medium-sized businesses.
The Competition and Markets Authority, a new regulator taking over from the OFT and the Competition Commission later this year, will use the study in deciding whether to start a full investigation by 2015, the antitrust agency said in a statement today.
“A competitive banking system and access to finance is vital to businesses and to economic growth,” OFT Chief Executive Officer Clive Maxwell said.
A parliamentary commission investigating banking failures today published a report criticizing lenders for a culture of greed and pursuing short-term gains. It asked for the government to consider splitting Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to separate bad assets and focus its operations on retail and commercial banking.
The OFT said it welcomed the commission’s findings. It will work with the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, as well as the Bank of England, and has invited comments from small businesses.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kit Chellel in London at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org