OFT says current accounts need to be changed

People "lack confindence" switching accounts.

New Statesman
Photograph: Getty Images

The Office of Fair Trading has said that significant changes are needed in the options for personal current accounts.

The lack of inertia comes from customers as well as banks - people "lack confidence" in switching accounts - which is adding to a "lack of dynamism" coming from the banks themselves.

The OFT realised that part of this lack of confidence on the customer's part is due to the amount of admin involved in switching accounts - they are looking into whether customers can take their account numbers with them.

But the review extends to the behaviour of the banks, too. Here's the BBC:

Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and HSBC now hold 75% of the market, the OFT said.

"The financial crisis and recession have weakened the competitive constraint from the smaller providers," the OFT's report said.

"While there have been two new entrants in recent years - Metro Bank in 2010 and M&S Bank in 2012 - neither is yet in a position to provide a significant challenge to the established providers."

The changes proposed involve an easier account switching service as well as changes to the market in the next few months - including the sale of Lloyds and RBS branches.