Belfast Telegraph

IBC probe to examine lack of competition in banking

A Government inquiry set up to examine the case for separating retail and investment banking operations will also look at the lack of competition in high street banking.

The Independent Commission on Banking (IBC) could potentially recommend a split-up of large retail banking operations, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The IBC, which is chaired by former chairman of the Office of Fair Trading Sir John Vickers, is due to publish a discussion paper on Friday detailing the scope of its investigations.

It has a year to make recommendations on possible changes the Government should impose on the sector.

It will also look at whether or not banks still pose a "systemic risk" to the UK economy, following on from assurances made by Barclays boss Bob Diamond that the taxpayer will never have to bail out the financial sector again.

The chief executives of all of Britain's largest banks will face interrogations by the IBC panel, which is also made up of Clare Spottiswoode, the former director-general of Ofgas, Martin Taylor, a former chief executive of Barclays, Bill Winters, the former co-chief executive of JP Morgan, and Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator at the Financial Times.

Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group have already been ordered to sell some branches as a condition of state aid.

However the pair continue to have a big market share in UK retail banking.

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