TEN Archives | Business | Irish banking sector

Perception of a lack of competitiveness in the banking sector to be examined by the Competition Authority.

The Competition Authority has confirmed that it will launch a study on the banking sector in Ireland.

The retail banking sector remains dominated by Bank of Ireland and AIB.

Despite the conversion of former building societies into banks and the entry of some foreign banks into the Irish market, Bank of Ireland and AIB together control over 80% of current accounts. Small business organizations and consumer groups have long complained about the lack of competition in banking. The Competition Authority will now launch a study of the Irish banking sector to examine this issue.

John Singleton of the Competition Authority says that the perception of a lack of competition exists in many sectors of the economy. The study hopes to find out if this perception reflects reality.

The study’s terms of reference are to be finalized next week and should focus on ease of access to the banking market and price and competition transparency. A similar study is also underway on the insurance sector.

The banking industry believes it has nothing to hide.

In response, the Irish Bankers Federation said the industry had nothing to hide. Felix O’Regan of the Irish Bankers Federation says the study should address what he describes as misperceptions.

The Competition Authority does not have the power to change bank charges and it may take some time for the study to be completed and recommendations made and implemented.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on September 2, 2002. The reporter is Robert Shortt.

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