The House of Commons Treasury Select Committee inquiry into competition and choice in the banking sector met today and ahead of the meeting in a Letter to Treasury Select Committee (link opens in .pdf), eBay called for greater banking competition to be the top priority for bank sell-offs.
Several banks led by Northern Rock had to go cap in hand for tax payer bail outs and Mark Hogan insisted that the planned sale of government stakes in bailed out banks must reach a balance between promoting competition and getting a good price.
Clare Gilmartin, eBay Vice President, called on the Government to take action to help the one third of SMEs who eBay say are currently being denied access to finance. She requested that the promotion of greater competition in the banking sector should be the Government’s primary objective when drawing up proposals for the sale of public shareholdings in Britain’s banks.
eBay’s research suggests that three-fifths of small businesses blame the banks for the continuing problems in accessing finance and half believe that greater competition in the banking sector should be a higher priority than maximising taxpayer returns from the privatisation of the banks.
Mark Hoban told parliament’s Treasury Select Committee he was keen to boost competition in the UK banking industry but that there would be a trade off between promoting competition and getting a good price.
What would be your priority – do you think the government should achieve the highest possible return on tax payers investment in the banks, or do you think a lower price but fostering more competition would serve the country better in the long term?