The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has called for a full competition inquiry into the ‘Big Five’ banks.

They have asked for the inquiry to investigate the banking sector including how they provide current accounts and business loans.

As it stands, 77% of all UK current accounts are provided by the biggest four High Street banks, with Santander way out in front.

When speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the CMA chief executive Alex Chisholm said that it was “vital” for the banking industry to operate properly. Chisholm believes the 19 month investigation will ensure this.

He went on to say: “Retail banking is worth a lot of money to the banks – £10bn a year – but also every customer in the country has an account, almost every business and every household.”

“At the moment they [the banks] don’t seem to be doing a good job of satisfying their customers, there are a lot of under-satisfied customers out there, small businesses are saying they are not happy with the choices they face and the services they are getting, and in the personal market as well, the big [five] banks, the satisfaction rating is below 60%.”

“We are suggesting there’s not enough rivalry there to be really falling over themselves to serve the customer, [to] come up with new innovations and come up with the best value and best service they can provide.”

A study that supports the need for this inquiry found that UK customers rarely looked into other products or switched accounts. The CMA put this down to a lack of transparency making bank comparisons difficult

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