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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Banking Fees Still Opaque

Francis Chittenden, professor of small business finance at The University of Manchester Business School, says that regulations imposed on the small business banking market four years ago have failed to improve the transparency of fees and there is little point in new measures being imposed.

A report by Chittenden, said that in the last two years it had become more difficult for business owners to find out how much they would pay in charges and interest if they changed banks.

Chittenden claims that regulations imposed by the Competition Commission in 2002, to increase transparency and limit the dominance of four major banks, had failed.

Quote:

"The quality of information available has declined from two years ago. Despite regulations to make small business banking more transparent, the reverse seems to have been true."

Adding:

"I don't think governments are able to influence markets in the way they thought they could four or five years ago."

Chittenden estimated it now took a business owner three days to screen banks, negotiate with them and reach a conclusion on the best bank for them.

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