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Happy New SEPA

About a year ago, in my blog ‘On your marks for SEPA’, I commented on the European Commission’s proposals for the setting of end dates for the migration from legacy instruments to SEPA credit transfers and direct debits. I wrote: “At least the whole industry knows that serious planning can now no longer be delayed. We don’t yet have the final ‘go’ but we now know we’re under starter’s orders.”

Well, twelve months later and it seems that we now have the final ‘go’ - 1 February 2014 is when the witching hour will be upon us.

But there is still little evidence that serious planning is underway. It seems that a combination of the ‘Eurozone crisis’ (to give it a name) and the wait for the end-date regulation has induced a state of dormancy in many banks. That can no longer be justified. Sound business sense must prevail and SEPA must be viewed as an opportunity, not a compliance exercise.

It’s the time of year for resolutions. Banks must resolve to enable SEPA payments and thereby transform their payments business and fully respond to their customers’ needs. The wait really is over.