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ICB calls for more competition among banks

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by Kay Mitchell

An interim report published by the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) has said more competition is required in retail banking.

The ICB, which was established in June 2010, has until September 2011 to make its recommendations about the banking industry to the Government and one of its suggestions is for banking giant Lloyds to sell-off more branches in order to boost competition among High Street banks.

The Commission has also previously said splitting up the big banks could achieve this.

Breaking up banks would also make them safer and less at risk of taxpayer bailouts, the ICB has previously said.

However, speaking to the BBC today, Sir John Vickers, chairman of the commission, said “total separation [of retail and investment banking] is not necessary”.

“UK retail banking can be protected by its own capital cushion. Other parts of the bank should be allowed to fail,” he added.

“The Commission is … considering forms of retail ring-fencing under which retail banking operations would be carried out by a separate subsidiary within a wider group.”

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News posted: April 11, 2011

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