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Open Banking: Lloyds and Barclays scolded by bank competition regulator

The Competition and Markets Authority says Lloyds and Barclays broke obligations aimed at improving competition the UK banking market.

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Two of the UK’s largest banks Lloyds and Barclays have been notified of failures in complying with open banking rules by the Competition and Markets Authority. 

The CMA, the UK’s competition watchdog, in two separate letters - both written by Dipesh Shah, Director of Remedies, Business and Financial Analysis at the organisation - outlined yesterday a number of instances where the two banks breached the 2017 Retail Banking Market Investigation Order in relation to open APIs. 

Lloyds and Barclays alongside seven other banks must abide by rules that open up their customer data via APIs as part of the UK’s open banking regime.

Barclays breached the Order thirteen times, the CMA said in its letter, by failing to make “continuously available accurate, comprehensive and up to date information on its products and services”.

In practice, this meant APIs that Barclays created to fulfil their obligation did not have the correct information listed or were not fully up to date. This means third parties calling on that API would not be able to accurately relay the information.

“Failure to make continuously available accurate, comprehensive and up to date information on products and services can mean that consumers take wrong decisions and they may therefore choose financial products or services which are not best suited to their needs,” the CMA’s letter said. 

“For each breach, Barclays considers that the correct information was available elsewhere, often more prominently than the incorrect information provided through its Open Banking APIs. It also notes that the incorrect information was not published by price comparison websites. Despite this, the CMA remains concerned with the nature and extent of these breaches,” it added.

In the case of Lloyds, it breached the CMA’s rules 10 times.

The CMA said that it would not be taking any further action on either of the banks, however, as both had taken steps to rectify the issues and it did not consider it necessary to take further formal enforcement action”.

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