Earlier today, I spoke at the British Bankers’ Association about the future of the UK’s financial services sector and the work the Government is doing to increase competition in banking for consumers.
We need real competition between banking service providers where customers can be won and lost, and where firms have to offer the best services and products to be successful. We’ve created a new Payments Systems Regulator to look at longstanding competition issues, and given both of the new financial services regulators – the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority – formal competition objectives to make sure this is ingrained into regulation.
The FCA and PRA are currently talking to around 25 potential new banks, and we have newer banks already offering more choice on the high street:
TSB has re-launched as a new bank;
Tesco Bank have just entered the current account market;
Virgin Money has said they will be offering current account products this year;
Metro Bank seem to be opening new branches by the day;
We’ve got alternative lenders, like Platform Black and Funding Circle;
And payments providers like TransferWise.
All of which is great news for consumers because it means more choice and more competition both now and in the future.
I’m also really pleased that, in the next few months, the FCA is going to be looking at the issue of bank account number portability. It is right that competition should always trump regulation, and allowing customers to keep their bank accounts could bring significant additional benefits and encourage bank switching. This is an issue I have been pressing in Westminster since I became an MP, and I look forward to reading the FCA’s report later this year.
Read my full remarks at the BBA here.