As the European Union prepares to usher in new data-sharing rules for banks and financial institutions, antitrust authorities are probing whether the banking industry is preventing rival FinTech services from accessing customers’ accounts.
EU officials carried out unannounced inspections on Oct. 3 in “a few” countries amid suspicions that “companies involved and/or banking associations representing them” may have thwarted non-bank services, the European Commission said on Friday. The Dutch Banking Association and the Polish Banking Association confirmed that inspectors sought information from their organizations.
The inspections come as the bloc’s retail banking industry is being reshaped by financial technology firms offering a range of apps and services to consumers, often via their smartphones. Lawmakers in Brussels have supported innovation as a way to provide consumers with more choices in financial services.
Krzysztof Pietraszkiewicz, head of the Polish Banks Association, said the industry is cooperating with regulators and takes the issue of data-sharing seriously.
The “Polish banking system is technically advanced, friendly and open, but it is also very well secured,” he said in an interview. “Giving access to clients’ credentials to third parties requires diligence and we won’t accept any shortcut solutions that would harm the safety of their deposits. For us security is a priority.”