July 18 2014.

Commenting on the proposed investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into the banking sector, John Longworth, BCC Director General said:

"Businesses want more competition, choice and transparency in the banking sector, so the provisional decision by regulators to conduct a full-scale investigation into business banking is the right one.

"The independent Business Banking Insight showed that many firms across the country feel that trust in the banking system has been damaged over recent years, with some dissatisfied with the level of service they receive. Other companies report they are discouraged from applying for finance.

“The planned CMA investigation must be wide-ranging if it is to make a real difference to the growth prospects of small and medium sized firms. In addition to competition questions around everyday business banking, we are pleased regulators will also be looking closely at SME loans.

"When it comes to access to finance, the current market isn't working for many young and dynamic firms. Without better access to working capital, including bank loans, Britain's future business champions will have a hard time expanding and taking their goods and services to the world.

"This investigation should be used as an opportunity to tackle the many concerns businesses have raised around banking and growth finance. Customer service, switching, lending and other business banking services must be examined together, to ensure that the practical issues facing businesses are addressed head on.

"Anything less than a comprehensive investigation would skirt around the edges of businesses' concerns."