Jul 242012

I’m puzzled about this proposal (which I’ve also seen before):

There appear to be 2 arguments, neither of which makes sense:

1. It will reduce mis-selling, apparently because banks will have less need to mis-sell if they have an extra source of revenue. Really?  So banks will be satisfied with this extra money, and decide “enough is enough”? Does anyone believe that?

2. It will make it easier for new banks to enter the market and so open up competition. Perhaps, but so what? What use is such extra competition if we are to be forced to pay extra anyway? Isn’t competition supposed to reduce prices, not rely on increased prices?

My bank isn’t really struggling for profits! I’m sure it wants more; however large its profits, it will always want more, and find an excuse to lobby for ways to get more.

But perhaps it needs to offer extra services worth paying for. I don’t need what it packages into its paid-for banking. Some of it I don’t need anyway, and some of it I get elsewhere. Tough!

Is the market for current accounts saturated? Do banks have to get used to the idea that they are sharing a fixed-size or even contracting pot for “everyday” financial services, sometimes with relatively new entrants such as M&S or the AA or peer-to-peer banking?

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