“However, even after this exhaustive investigation, the report pulls its punches in some areas. The report fails to address the structural problems in the provision of business finance, which are holding back some of our most dynamic young firms. The CMA must also tread carefully in the sharing of data by finance providers via the Open Banking programme, to ensure that businesses retain control over who has access to their data – otherwise any trust between lenders and businesses could be destroyed.
“This report must be the start, rather than the end, of the drive to improve competition and greater choice in SME banking, as our recent survey work has shown that awareness of alternative funding options is low among businesses. The government must also address some of the deep-rooted problems in the provision of finance, such as the availability of long-term patient capital. Finance providers should actively promote the initiatives endorsed by the CMA too, if we are to see real change on the ground for business banking customers.”