Competition and Credit Control
The Bank of England’s ‘consultative document’ on Competition and Credit Control was published on May 14th, 1971. It was a landmark occasion, representing a decisive break with the prior system of maintaining direct controls over the, main components of the, UK banking system; the intention was now to achieve the monetary authorities’ objectives of policy via the operation of market mechanisms, notably adjustments in interest rates and open market operations. Although the ‘credit control’ aspect was, over the next few years, notably less successful than the encouragement of competition amongst the banks, (where the London Clearing Banks previously had maintained a restrictive cartel with the support of the authorities), nevertheless the direction of travel towards a more liberal, market based system, remained, despite a partial reversion towards a partial direct control system in the guise of the ‘corset’, introduced at the end of 1973, and finally laid to rest in June 1980.
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