01 Feb 2007

The Commission’s Retail Banking Inquiry: A Chance for More Competition

Nicola Jentzsch

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The European Commission’s in-depth inquiry into retail banking is long overdue. Its findings are hardly surprising: for years high fees persisted, market concentration loomed and there was little cross-border competition. Times could now be changing for the better. DG Competition states that it has found ‘widespread competition barriers’ that raise the cost of retail banking, but ‘competition concerns’ are not evidence of breaches of competition law. The Commission must now prove that its claims are not unfounded: the next steps are investigation and prosecution of individual cases.