160807 RBS Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland suffered a £2bn half-year loss [Image: Hannah Mckay/EPA].

Many people are putting their money under the mattress again, This Writer is told.

If it was good enough for George Formby…

For years now, [banks have] been battling to disgrace themselves in increasingly outrageous ways, while also pioneering more and more creative ways in which to further irk their shareholders.

We saw it again last week, when Royal Bank of Scotland slumped to a £2bn half-year loss and HSBC reported a 29% fall in first-half profits to $9.7bn – both of which came with a string of legal and regulatory warnings.

But this week, prepare for the focus to switch – when we’ll ask whether these institutions have been striving so hard to win in the humiliation stakes that they’ve forgotten to compete for the benefit of their customers.

The Competition and Markets Authority has been investigating the supply of personal current accounts and of banking services to small- and medium-sized enterprises – and on Tuesday it will publish a summary of its final report.

The CMA has shown only slightly more appetite for addressing these questions than the bankers – having previously stated that banks must cap overdraft charges, while still allowing them to decide where to set the cap. Cynics have suggested that there may be a slight flaw in that plan.

Source: British banks: doing their worst for us | Business | The Guardian


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