To me this is no surprise, the SEPA project has seen one delay after another with the EDR being imposed by the EC in an attempt to get this very important economic policy through. The surprise is that the EC has 17 business days to go to the EDR and we have a proposal that requires approval by the EU parliament.
Unfortunately the business case for SEPA has never been strong for the banks, so it’s no surprise that many have simply implemented tactical solutions, some are still not ready and the EC is now asking for a 6 month delay. And this latest delay seems to have been laid at the doors of the corporates and SMEs, this seems a little harsh given the banks have been working on SEPA for some 14 years.
The questions are 1- is a 6 month delay enough for the corporates and banks to implement SEPA solution, and as this is only a proposal that requires EU approval in a very short time frame for Brussels, 2- what will happen if the European parliament declines the proposal? Given this I would suggest SEPA will have to go live on February 1st, let’s hope it goes well.
There are plenty of other similar schemes being worked on around the world, such as the Southern African Development Communities (SADC) payments project, agreed they have the benefit of hindsight, and there is a lot to learn from SEPA, but they will probably be live before SEPA!