Chance for more competition in retail banking

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Commenting on the Commission’s retail banking inquiry report, Nicola Jentzsch of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) argues that more competition in retail banking will bring benefits, such as better service, lower prices and savings.

Jentzsch writes that the Commission’s retail banking inquiry findings are not surprising in view of high fees, market concentration and lack of cross-border competition which have been persistent.

The Commission has found “widespread competition barriers” that raise the cost of retail banking, but “competition concerns”, Jentzsch argues, are not evidence of breaches of competition law. The author says that the Commission must now prove in further investigation and prosecution of individual cases, that its claims are not unfounded.

On the other hand, the author explains that the industry must address the concerns of the Commission through a critical assessment of its business practices and through voluntary reforms.

She concludes by stating that more competition in retail banking services can only be only beneficial, leading to improved service- quality, lower prices and greater savings. Thus, Jentzsch argues, the inquiry should be seen as an opportunity to increase competition.

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