Research findings on progress towards SEPA migration
by Helen Sanders, Editor
The first of February 2014 has become a date that will sit alongside the millenium ‘bug’ on 1 January 2000, euro migration on 1 January 2002, and Lehman’s collapse on 14 September 2008 in treasurers’ consciousness. By this date, every organisation in the 32 SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area) countries will need to have migrated their domestic and cross-border euro credit transfer and direct debit payments and collections to the new SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD) instruments. Many treasurers will read this and shrug: “yes, we know, why do we need to be told quite so many times?” Well, the reason is that not everyone has heard, and fewer have listened.
With one year to go, 1 February 2013 was therefore the date on which the SEPA stopwatch started, with the launch of myriad new websites, blogs, research and press releases on SEPA. Now, a few weeks later, in a more sober light (although the stopwatch is still ticking) a cynic may think that the release of new SEPA collateral is simply a sales ruse; indeed, one banking friend I spoke to recently had called an existing customer to discuss their SEPA migration, receiving the response, “I’ve said I’m not interested, thank you. I’ll stick to what I do now.” As Andrew Reid, Head of Cash Management Corporates, EMEA (ex-Germany) at Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Banking, summarises,
“SEPA is not a value-added service offered by banks and consultants, but a fundamental shift in the payments environment in Europe.”