The Single Euro Payments Area Council is being replaced by a more formal organization.
The European Commission is suggesting that a new European Retail Payments Board (ERPB) come to take the place of the Council. The EC lobbied for the change in a draft document seen by the Policy and Regulation Report.
According to Finextra, the Sepa Council was initiated three years ago in the spring of 2010. The first years were no easy feat, and the council received plenty of flak about its structure and lack of consultation with end-users. Several merchants in various countries, such as Ireland, expressed great concern over their future integration of Sepa. Small and medium sized firms confessed they were underprepared for the switch and time was running out.
The Sepa council met on numerous occasions to discuss the future implementation of Sepa and its implications. However, efforts fell short and many industry constituents, especially small and medium business merchants, communicated they were unhappy. Thus, they rallied together to lobby for a more organized system and government involvement.
In response to the complaints, the ERPB decided to gather a more formal governing body. The board will represent both the demand and supply side of the market, and will incorporate at least one representative from each stakeholder group.
Finextra reported that it will be up to the EC and the European Central Bank to nominate who will become members of the board. It has also been suggested that EU central bank members may take part in ERPG and act as observers. Moreover, stakeholders in the industry will be allowed to nominate members and observers. Members of the ERPG board will be assessed every two years to determine efficiency, as stated in the draft document.
According to the draft, the ERPB will work together to make decisions, and conclusions will be made on a majority-basis. The EU hopes the new organization will equally represent all stakeholders in the Sepa integration scheme, especially the retail payments companies across Europe.
ERPB will be expected to come up with productive solutions and tackle issues relevant to credit transfers, direct debit, card payments, Internet and mobile payments. It is also important that the new board develops new strategies that will encourage innovation in the financial industry and in the European payments market.
Members will be required to submit annual reports that describe its discussions and activities in order to improve transparency and accountability.
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