FROM THE FINANCIAL SECTOR TO THE BANKING SECTOR
Etienne Pfister (Chief Economist of the Competition Authority)
The "competition and financial services" theme is very broad. In addition to insurance products and services, it covers in particular the financial services offered by banks in relation to their end customers (retail banking, commercial banking and corporate and investment banking) and the relations between banks to provide their end customers with payment services (cheques, payment cards, direct debits, etc.).
Retail Market Decisions
Relatively few decisions concern retail markets. These include :
– competition council decision 00-D-28 and european commission decision 2004/138/ec (2002) sanctioned cartels between banks concerning, respectively, the purchase of mortgage loans in France and the amount of interest rates for austrian companies and consumers ;
– Decision 09-dcc-16 authorising the merger between the Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne banking groups, subject to a commitment, adopted a dual analysis of the geographical delimitation of the markets: the banks can derive market power, on the one hand, from their large customer base at the national level, due to the economies of scale and range specific to this sector, and, on the other hand, from their geographical proximity to their retail and SME customers. Thus, in addition to analysing the effects of the operation at the national level, the authority also considered its impact on local geographic markets, delimited by a 20-minute drive around the communes where an overlap is found for retail banking activities, and at the level of the region or department for commercial banking activities for SMEs.