Another bank inquiry – increased costs for SMEs?

Yet another massive fine, RBS again, this time £56 million for a computer meltdown in 2012 that left people unable to access their accounts.

In recent weeks there seems to have been a steady stream of fines for a variety of misdeeds.

Yet will it make any difference?

We, along with many others, have been saying for months if not years that SMEs and personal customers have been badly served by the “big four” (Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Barclays) who between them have 85% of the small business banking and 77% of the personal account markets in the UK.

And now the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun an 18-month investigation into how banks treat their customers.

Who knows how many more revelations about bank misbehaviour are yet to emerge from this new investigation?

Will there be more fines?

Despite the schadenfreude, let’s be clear fines are ultimately paid by customers, not the banks.

What has emerged is that the cleanup now means that banks don’t make much out of their SME and personal accounts which has resulted in the introduction of various regular charges and closure of branches.

It is not yet clear whether the rhetoric will result in any meaningful change that improves the relationship between banks and SMEs.

It is however clear that the cost of banking services will increase for SMEs.

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