/regulation & compliance

News and resources on regulation, compliance, legal and governance issues for banks and fintechs.
MPs call for 'Big Bang' to free up challenger banks

MPs call for 'Big Bang' to free up challenger banks

The UK should broaden its open banking model to accelerate the growth of fintech as part of a wider new financial services "Big Bang", according to a group of MPs.

While the UK has seen a plethora of new digital challengers enter the market to take on the traditional high street giants in recent years, competition is still being stifled by "regulatory intransigence", says a report from an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG).

The Challenger Banking APPG is calling on the government to instigate a new "Big Bang", imitating the 1980s deregulation of financial markets.

The group argues that by removing the shackles from fintechs, the government can make strides in its "levelling-up" agenda for reducing economic imbalances between different parts of the country.

Says the group: "It is time for a new Big Bang to break the restrictive regulatory practices which enshrine the dominance and market share of the big five banks."

Among its specific recommendations, the report calls for more to be done to allow open banking to offer a view of each person’s financial situation.

In addition, the regulator should establish a Financial Services Compensation Scheme-style system for fintechs offering consumer access where their money is not protected by the existing FSCS model.

Banks should also be forced to offer their branches to challengers before closing them, with the government offering financial incentives to these challengers to open branches.

Finally, the report recommends making financial education a stand-alone curriculum item at primary and secondary school level.

Karen Bradley MP, chair of the APPG on Challenger Banks and Building Societies, says: "Levelling-up is a key Government priority and the current cost of living crisis only serves to reemphasise how important it is. Financial Services providers can play a big role, but overly cautious regulation is holding them back.

"Regulators fear of failure means many are forced to operate with one hand tied behind their back and this doesn’t have to be the case."

Read the report:

Download the document now 2.7 mb (Chrome HTML Document)

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 31 August, 2022, 11:13Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Interesting, the proposals aim to allow unregulated bank-lookalike services with government user protection to be launched after two decades of increased banking regulation, in order to take on the five big domestic banks. Why not deregulate banking instead? How does a fintech take over a bank branch to be closed? Nobody is stopping the fintech from leasing the premises when the bank is closing a branch and hiring the possibly redundant branch staff is 100% allowed today. What is difficult to "offer" is the take over of the IT systems and service routines of the retreating "high-street bank". The "fintech" needs to build its own customer handling services... I do not know about the UK but in Scandinavia all the "fintech challengers" are stockpiling into the major cities where there is no shortage of banking services or branches. None of the "challengers" wants to service the people and companies in rural areas or villages except for the "incumbent" banks... 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 31 August, 2022, 16:22Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

From "Branchless Neobanks will kill Banks stuck with branches" to "Banks must let Neobanks take over branches".

This would sound extremely funny if it weren't so surreal!