Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The price of banking; international comparison

This Oxera report compares the price and cost of the main banking products used by the vast majority of British consumers with the price and cost of those products in ten other developed countries.

Whilst the British bankers would have loved to say they were the best and the cheapest all across the board, such a statement was impossible due to the incorrect pricing structure of the Netherlands (where consumers are effectively sponsored by companies). So the conclusion became:
This study shows that a typical UK customer using a range of banking services is able to benefit from some of the cheapest services of all the countries covered in the study. This finding generally holds across the different consumer profiles. Finland and the Netherlands are also notable countries with low-cost banking services.

The report also contains a statement by external assessor: David T. Llewellyn, professor of Money and Banking. He vouches for the report and also makes the following two statements:
And yet, public debate in this area is often very subjective and frequently based on impressionistic judgements rather than concrete or robust empirical evidence.
Public debate on these important issues needs to be based on firm and robust empirical evidence rather than ad hoc impressions

I couldn't agree more.

We really need to stop wasting our time and resources on the current media policy circus on EU-payments and get back to the real world and real life problems rather than continue the ad-hoc and intuitive anecdotal media approach.