Labour leader Ed Miliband will today outline plans to break up the largest UK banks, ending the dominance of the 'big four'.
In a speech at the University of London, he will say the largest institutions must sell off "significant" numbers of their branches if the industry is to become more competitive.
The plans would force the banks to sell branches in order to meet a new legal threshold restricting the size of high street lenders.
He will also pledge to create at least two "challenger banks", or new entrants to the market, to remove the dominance of the largest banks which control most of the lending in the UK.
Miliband (pictured) will say a Labour government would instruct the Competition and Markets Authority to report within six months of the May 2015 general election what the limit on a bank's market share should be and the timetable for any sell-off of branches, which should be completed by 2020.
The Labour leader will say: "Of course, financial services are an important industry in itself. But for an industry that calls itself a 'service', it has been an incredibly poor servant of the real economy, not just since 2010 - or 2008 - but for decades in this country.
"We need a reckoning with our banking system, not for retribution, but for reform. If we carry on as we are, we will end up stuck with the same old banks dominating our high street: the old economy."
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