A full-blown competition investigation is to take place into the dominance the major banks have over personal and business accounts, the Competition and Markets Authority has announced.
The CMA said there has been “very little movement” in the market shares of the four largest banks, which are Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
The levels of customers shopping around and switching current accounts are “low” amid limited transparency in the sector, it said.
The investigation could see big banks forced to sell branches or face other remedial measures.
The CMA said banks have not done enough to meet the needs of retail customers or small and medium-sized businesses, such as making it easier to switch banks or providing clear information on fees.
The investigation, which could take about 18 months, had been expected after the CMA said in July a full investigation was on the cards.