New Inquiry Announced into Competition and Choice in the Banking Sector

13 July 2010

The Treasury Committee has announced a major inquiry into competition and choice in the banking sector.

The financial crisis had a major impact on the shape of the banking sector. There has been widespread consolidation among banks and building societies. Concerns have been raised that competition in the sector is not working, with investigations by the Office of Fair Trading into unauthorised overdraft charges and equity underwriting. The Government has also appointed an Independent Commission on Banking.

This inquiry will build on work done by the Committee in the previous Parliament on the banking crisis, the structure of the banking industry, and consumer issues.

The Committee’s inquiry may:

  • assess the impact of the financial crisis on competition and choice in both retail and wholesale markets;

  • assess the impact of widespread consolidation among banks and mutuals;

  • examine the key barriers to entry inhibiting increased competition — including regulation;

  • examine whether competition is inhibited by difficulties faced by customers in accessing information about products;

  • explore the Government and competition authorities’ strategy to increase competition in banking, including the likelihood that new entrants will successfully enter the market;

  • consider the relationship between competition and financial stability;

  • consider the impact of free banking on effective competition;

  • look at the role of foreign–based operators and whether they are likely to return to the UK.


 The deadline for submissions is 12 noon on Monday 6 September 2010. The Committee intends to hold oral evidence sessions in the autumn.


Written evidence should be in Word or rich text format—not PDF format—and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. The deadline is 12 noon on Monday 6 September 2010. Submissions should be no longer than 3000 words. Submissions should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

 Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  

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