Thursday, May 24, 2007

GTnews article on conference about SEPA-role for the Public Sector

See the GTWnews article here outlining the content of the conference on SEPA for the public sector. It was done in response to the claims of EPC that also governments should take action. So McCreevy organised it and had some statements such as:
Where are we now with the SEPA project, and what do we need to do next? The good news is that the technical, business and legal foundations of the project have been firmly established. The recent adoption, in a single reading, of the Payments Services Directive (PSD) is in particular a major achievement. Now we need a robust and realistic timeline for completion of the project. And by completion, I mean wide-spread use of SEPA products by retail customers, SMEs, corporates and the public sector.

The PSD will not be implemented in national law until November 2009. This means that the SEPA direct debit products will not be available before that time. Only a few EU member states have so far declared their intention to phase out their domestic payments system and adopt SEPA. Against this background, the latest declaration of the EPC Plenary that they expect a critical mass of users by 2010 is a challenge. Therefore, we need to instil a sense of momentum and dynamism to make SEPA the success we all want it to be. Each stakeholder has to take responsibility for this in their respective domain.

Let me first turn to what I believe the banking sector should do. The banks obviously have the responsibility to design SEPA products that are attractive to customers, competitively priced and retain at least the levels of performance that current national products have. I am sure during the course of today you will have plenty of opportunity to hear what the banks plan and to have your questions answered.

Next, the banks will need to ensure that there are adequate governance structures in place to manage SEPA. The EPC is the only show in town as far as private sector governance of SEPA is concerned. It needs to better involve the users of payment services in its deliberations.

More also needs to be done to invest real authority in the EPC so that it can ensure that all banks are preparing themselves for the SEPA payments market on schedule. Laggards should be gently but firmly told to step up their efforts. The EPC will also need to use its new authority to establish a realistic timeline that all banks will be able to stick to for phasing out their old payments products and migrating their customers to SEPA products. To do this successfully, the EPC must be assured of the backing of banks at the top levels. This is an issue for boardroom discussion.

Well, this looks as if the EPC asked McCreevy to say that they need more power... so that the timelines of 2010 can be achieved. Yet, as stated earlier in this blog, in 2010 there may be some new instruments, but mass usage or domestic migration is unlikely to be underway (with a direct debit only coming on the market in 2010).