Time for effective competition in high street banking

04 July 2011

The Financial Services Consumer Panel is continuing its quest for effective competition and a robustly competitive market for banking services. In its latest response to the Independent Commission on Banking’s Interim Report, the Panel supported proposals that promote a market where choice and value are paramount.


Specifically, the Panel emphasised:

  • Removal of barriers to entry and a wide choice of providers
  • Ease of switching
  • Greater transparency about products and prices and easy comparisons
  • Access to financial services for all


Kay Blair, Vice Chair of the Consumer Panel commented:

“Consumers deserve better from the high street banks. There is far too little effective competition leaving consumers with a range of nearly identical products which are difficult to compare directly and have hidden costs and charges.

The second tier of the banking industry has effectively been wiped out by building society demutualisation and industry consolidation. It is essential that competition in the market is enhanced, and that new entrants are able to raise standards and push the industry into delivering better outcomes for consumers.

Consumers still yearn for the old-fashioned bank managers of yesteryear. While Mr Mainwaring might be a relic of the past an efficient and competitive banking system which provides consumers with a real choice of good value products would present a welcome future.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Financial Services Consumer Panel response to the Independent Commission on Banking interim report can be found on the Consumer Panel website.
  3. Biographical details and photographs of Kay Blair can be found on our website.
  5. The Consumer Panel is a statutory body under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and was initially established by the Financial Services Authority in December 1998. The Panel advises the FSA Board on the interests and concerns of consumers and reports on the FSA's performance in meeting its objectives.
  7. The emphasis of the Panel's work is on activities that are regulated by the FSA, although it may also look at the impact on consumers of activities outside but related to the FSA's remit. More information about the Panel's work is available on our website.
  9. From the 1st April 2011 there are fifteen members of the Panel as listed below. Panel members are appointed to serve a maximum of two terms of three years. Further information on individual members.