Is the Lloyds TSB / HBOS Merger good for consumers?

With all the support that banks can now count on for recapitalisation and access to funding, it is worth asking: why is the Lloyds TSB / Halifax Bank of Scotland merger going ahead? Our money as consumers is safe whatever. Sure, it is a good opportunity for Lloyds but, at first glance, having such an overwhelming giant in the current account and mortgage market is surely not good for consumers and a competitive market. The lesson of the last decade is that it is extraordinarily hard for new banks to emerge and take significant market share – even though satisfaction with the service the incumbents offer, with the exception of the internet banks, is rarely high. Is it now in the national interest to suspend competition law and perhaps create a bigger rod for our own backs?

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