Banks Unlikely to Meet 2014 SEPA Deadline

What's Next In Payments®
6:00 PM EST September 19th, 2011

Bankers and executives are doubtful the sector will be able to meet a 2014 SEPA compliance goal, according to a straw poll conducted during the annual Swift summit.

“The session, entitled ‘Sepa – will the market finally move’, was convened to debate the European Commission’s proposals to impose a probable 2014 deadline for the switchover to the new pan-European payments instrument,” reports Finextra. “The naysayers on the floor held a slim majority over the optimists, although a clear majority of delegates expect the introduction of Sepa to encourage more innovation from banks in a payments industry that is being increasingly dominated by non-bank entities.”

Banks from Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands were represented during the session, as well as a leader from the European Central Bank. Panelists were split on whether current regulations will hinder the 2014 goal.

“However, given the skepticism of European banks and corporates over the 2014 deadline, this does raise the potentially embarrassing possibility of the first business-ready Sepa-style system being implemented somewhere other than Europe,” continued Finextra.

Mark Buitenhek, global head of payments and cash management at ING, felt that the new rules on direct debit could impede implementation.

“Banks are being asked to change what has been a one-way system into a two-way system and this will take time,” he said, according to Finextra. “I recognize that there needs to be balance between consumer protection and efficient systems but I think these new rules go too far and are too demanding for banks and corporates. Either banks redesign their DD systems or the regulator redesigns the rulebook.”
 
Javier Santamaria, assistant general manager for SEPA payments at Spain-based Banco Santander and also a member of the European payments Council’s Sepa working group, countered that “the rulebook is fit for purpose”.
 
However, the majority of the audience at the session voted yes when asked if SEPA will expand beyond Europe. Click here to read the complete article.

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