Consumer body Which? has revealed that it has written to Lord Mandelson, the secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, outlining concerns about the merger between Lloyds TSB and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS).
The watchdog wishes to prevent potential higher debt for borrowers as a result of the takeover, which some critics have claimed may create a “superbank” resulting in less consumer choice.
Peter Vicary-Smith, the chief executive of Which?, called on Lord Mandelson to ensure measures are introduced to prevent the “superbank” from behaving in a way that could be detrimental to consumers.
“The merger may be necessary for short-term stability, but the Government must take a long-term view of the effects this will have on a sector where consumers are already losing out due to weak competition,” he said.
Gordon Brown intervened in the takeover proposals in order for them to sidestep competition rules that ordinarily would have prevented such a merger from taking place.
By Jamie Price