16 September 2014

Live: EBAday 2013, day one

21 May 2013  |  9670 views  |  0 Euro puzzle 5

Payments professionals from across Europe are gathering in Berlin this week for EBAday, hosted by the Euro Banking Association and Finextra. We're liveblogging events here.

17:48: That's a wrap for day one, we'll be back tomorrow.

17:44: Well, we nearly made it through a whole day but it wouldn't be liveblogging without a WiFi outage. Thankfully we had some tweeters in the room I can lean on:




And, as a bonus, my colleague Asif has emailed a summery of the 'e-commerce - creating a pan-European payments proposition' session from earlier featuring John Broxis from EBA clearing, Ken Deveaux from RBS, Roberto Liscia from Netcomm, and Fabio Stragiotto, Unicredit. David Bannister moderated.

"Discussion began with consumer distrust of the e-commerce environment - Liscia pointed out that trustworthiness needs to be addressed with digital means.

Common standards in European payments was a key, recurring topic of the panel. Stragiotto argued that a common payments standard was key.

Liscia said the cross-selling of goods in Europe is a poor experience compared to other commercial areas..he stated that only 8% of Europeans are willing to buy products abroad as they don't trust the merchants. Identification and verification are key to developing trust.

Interoperability was then discussed, with regards to iDEAL which is hugely successful in the Netherlands. The panel agreed that lack of interoperability causes problems and introduces disproportionate costs.

Broxis went on to say that although iDEAL is very successful in the Netherlands, they are still in a competitive environment and MyBank would need to compete with them.

And lastly, the panel touched on innovation. For Stragiotto, innovation is a 'cheeky' word for bankers. For him the term was often slapped on to a product, just because it hasn't been sold before, even though it may not necessarily be new. For him, innovation is something the customer perceives as new value."


16:49: Grönholm sets the (slightly terrifying) scene for us: we have just 200-odd days until Sepa migration end-date. Then we have other challenges; the eurozone worries, more regulation, non-bank competitors and fast-changing tech.

Lehr is asked: Is the Sepa game over? I wish? We're now trying to put theoretical work into real life and finding lots of bumps in the road. Game is only starting. She also echoes earlier comments re dip in STP in short term.

Denis disagrees to some extend: In terms of payment sourcing and strategy, it's over. Our bank made its decisions years ago and many corporates made move once end date established.

Moons thinks we're just in a new phase of the Sepa end game. Some banks went down a strategic road in preparing for migration, others were more tactical and may now have to revisit. There's also a lot of work to do with clients.


16:28: My final session of the day is 'Sepa and payments sourcing' with Salvatore Borgese, director, Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari Italiane, Jean-François Denis, global cash management, head of payments, BNP Paribas, Katja Lehr, global core payments, PayPal, and Guy Moons, senior business consultant (Sepa) payments, Clear2Pay. Our moderator is Janina Grönholm from Aktia.


The panel

16:12: Is Sepa a threat or opportunity for op efficiency? From an IT perspective, says Calvet. In short term, Sepa could be cost - could cause a dip in STP but in longer term it will prove huge opportunity, thinks Schmidt.

And we're onto standards. Ishijima wants use of ISO20022 extended but although Japanese ACH is enabled, little take-up because no business case established yet. Wants to see what consequences Sepa has in Europe, what benefits accrue. Palmers says we are seeing increased uptake of ISO20022, mainly from Asia Pacific and mainly from corporate side. But Canada and Australia, also.

We'll leave it there for this session.

15:58: We're back to collaboration and how vital it is for op efficiency - you need automation across the entire chain and its difficult to do this once you have more than one bank involved.


15:44: So those are the problems, how do you solve them? Schmidt says its about customer satisfaction; look at your market share and retention, look at your complaints and work to address them - customers give you a better feel than any outside consultancy.

Back to what holds back efficiency, Ishijima brings up our old friend regulation, especially on things like AML and KYC which cost time and money that could be invested elsewhere. The different rules in different parts of the world is also a big issue for cross-border payments. Palmers points out that regulation can actually drive operational efficiency though, forcing banks to improve processes.

Calvet says that an area where efficiency can be improved is by simplifying systems and making them more flexible.


15:33:


Our panel

Lipis kicks off with a quote (allegedly) from Einstein: "not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts."

So how do we measure 'operational excellence'?

Schmidt uses the example of monthly gas bills to show how even something as simple of costs can be difficult to measure. It's the same in business: its not easy to give a complete picture of things.

Ishijima says judging the operational efficiency depends on the type of customer. In Japan, cash is still widely used so he goes to the ATM to withdraw money but their are processes, extras, involved that are inefficient for him.

Palmers brings up the unknown factors which are almost impossible to measure: how do you know if you lose a customer because you've not been innovative enough?

15:13: My next session is 'operational excellence - leaving no stone unturned'. Pierre Calvet, deputy manager of Diamis, Kazushi Ishijima, head of payment market infrastructure, transaction services, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Carlo Palmers, market manager, market infrastructures, Swift, and Markus Schmidt, head of Germany cash operations, Deutsche Bank are on the panel. Leo Lipis, MD, Lipis & Lipis moderates.

15:10: Our TV crew has been hard at work interviewing the movers and shakers. You can catch up here.

14:57: How would you spend £5 billion to improve payments world? Wright raises potential of harnessing data to improve services and finding out what customers want.

But, Barclay notes that its not just what customers want but what is being imposed on them - rules like Sepa. How do we get to 100% use of SDD and SCT? Steinbach says that the move is highly underestimated in corporative sphere and more effort needs to be made here. At the moment he thinks we'll get to 50% take-up. Thomalla thinks its "pretty tight" in terms of firms meeting deadline if they haven't already begun.

14:38: Thomalla admits that Dixon was right in his keynote about institutional blindness. Collaboration, getting an outside perspective can help combat this. It's vital to have a clear goal though because collaboration is like a marriage; you have a honeymoon but then it gets harder.

Steinbach gives the audience a reminder that outside of this building, nobody cares about payments (unless they go wrong), what people care about is what they buy with that payment. He thinks that to win business in the e- and m- commerce world, the FS needs to find partners along the entire supply chain - not trying to own everything.

Barclays backs up the 'no-one cares about payments' argument. On train yesterday he mentioned to a fellow passenger that he was coming here, but they fell asleep before the sentence was finished.

is now talking about what the priorities are for the FS industry and, not surprisingly, regulation is what keeps people awake at night.

14:25: Barclay says that the session should follow on nicely from this morning - the new tech, cultural and regulatory environment makes collaboration more valuable.

Wright asks: If collaboration is an innovative tool, how do you make it work? Collaboration is not just teamwork. Collaboration is looser, with a mix of groups who can have different but complementary goals. Pooling of resources and knowledge between banks, vendors, consultancies, regulators etc.

In practical terms, how do you do this? E-mail still rules but do firms need their own social network (not Facebook!) that makes sharing of knowledge, documents etc easier. Wright notes that banks have traditionally been wary of too much sharing and collaboration but this is changing.

From the bank's perspective, Vicente admits collaboration can be difficult. Economies of scale and scope drive collaboration. He seems to have coined a new phrase (to me, at least) that I think is coopetition. So collaboration and competition because banks have to be able to differentiate themselves.

On non-banks, Vicente says the system is "tolerating" them and not offering many barriers to entry. Barclay suggests these upstarts might have a different view.

14:02: And we're back. The rest of the day sees delegates given a choice between two streams. First up is 'supply chain finance - getting the formula right' or 'payments solutions - the benefits of collaborations and partnerships.

I've opted for the latter, which will be moderated by JP Morgan's James Barclay, who's joined by Michael Steinbach from Equens, Paul Thomalla of ACI Worldwide, José Vicente from Banco Comercial Português, and Fundtech's Joanna Wright.

12:42: I hope this brave new world being discussed will bring with it a laptop battery that lasts for more than a couple of hours...

It's now time for lunch, here's what the panel finished up on:

Brown (unsurprisingly) pushes back against Dixon's view that complex, massive, expensive legacy IT systems at big banks could see them left behind by PayPal etc. Sehr agrees, saying that more regulation means more consolidation which means some of these new pretenders will have to do more heavy, back-end lifting, which they may not be capable of, or want to do.

We'll be back this afternoon.



12:12: From the floor, a PayPal representative raises an interesting point: in this brave new world of mobile payments, it's difficult to carry out transactions outside of your home country because of prohibitive data roaming costs. (ie its not very mobile!)

Dixon thinks this could be addressed soon because data roaming about to go into freefall.

While we have a PayPal man in the spotlight, Dixon asks the audience whether the eBay unit will return to EBAday in a few years as a fully-fledged bank - not many hands go up.

Dixon not convincing everyone in the hall on another issue:


11:57: Sehr on correspondent banking: Sepa and euro means less correspondent banking but there is work to do in dealing with eg Africa and we have to make transactions better and faster. On Sepa, banks are ready, we've done our homework, but there are still concerns over corporates.

Brown harks back to Dixon's point re speed customers now expect. Sepa doesn't do that - where is a Faster Payments for Europe?

11:42: Dixon's now been joined by Marcus Sehr, global head of cash management for financial institutions, Deutsche Bank and Kevin Brown, global head of transaction services, RBS.

Brown talks about social media - it is now part of our world, monitoring Twitter etc. He cites the recent IT outage which hit online retail customers. Within 8 mins the outage was trending on Twitter, within 30 mins on national news. Far more immediate and strong customer reaction than would have been seen even 12 months ago. Another factor is Faster Payments service - it has changed customer expectations.


11:21: And, we're onto mobile payments. 80% currently in Africa, with M-Pesa home Kenya leading the world. M-Pesa has 17m customers and accounts for 33% of the country's GDP. M-Pesa and its clones spell big trouble for last century firms like Western Union, with their huge commissions.

E-commerce hit $1 trillion in 2012 but Dixon says we're now approaching an inflexion point, where we really hit an e-world. This will be driven by social media, new currencies like bitcoin and the mobile phones.

So banks and others have launched more than 100 mobile payments systems in last few years. Dixon thinks many won't last; they launched too soon, they're not good enough. Cool is important - that's why Square/Starbucks works.




11:03: Watching a movie on my computer (watching on TV so last century), looking up a bio of actress on phone. How many seconds do you think I waited before pressing backbutton because life is too short. Asks audience how long they'd wait: 95% say five seconds max.

Now a Barclays security dongle for online banking flashes up on the screen. Point made: in a world in which we expect the instant, cumbersome security measures alienate customers. Now we're onto call centres. The audience seems pretty keen on locking up whoever is responsible for these time-sucking inventions.

10:55: Now Dixon takes the floor, confessing he doesn't believe everything he is going to say but that his job is to "kick up a stink".



First question for the audience to ponder:


Dixon now talking about the way that plans have a way of being overtaken by events: 20 seconds is a long time in the global economy. Who'd have bet on a country leaving the euro in next 10 years a few years ago? Who would now? The firms that thrive are those that have more than a plan a, you need a b and a c.

10:48: EBA chairman Hansjörg Nymphius arrives on stage:


Sepa brings us to something completely new but Sepa is not the future, only the beginning, says Nymphius. Looking further ahead to, say, 2020, where is payments and transaction banking going?

Berlin knows what it meant to have artificial borders. Payments may not be life and death but Sepa does break down artificial borders. There are more borders to break though: beyond e- and m- commerce to something completely new.

It was never a case of whether the Berlin Wall would come down, only when. It's the same with barriers to payments.

10:12: While we wait for the programme to begin, here's some related reading on the Council of the European Union's recent call for countries, banks and end users to step up their Sepa migration efforts. Micah Willbrand from BankersAccuity has also blogged on this issue.

09:43: In addition to liveblogging the event, Finextra will be bringing you video interviews with all the key players from our TV studio:



09:23: Some early news out of the event: a core group of seven German banks are to use EBA Clearing's pan-European Automated Clearing House Step2 for processing Sepa-compliant domestic payments in euros.

Read the full Finextra story here

09:19: After registration and breakfast, at 10:30 EBA chairman Hansjörg Nymphius will welcome attendees before handing over to Patrick Dixon, renowned futurist and chairman of Global Change, who will talk about the future payments and transaction banking landscape.

09:12 Ahead of this week's event, Werner Steinmeuller, head of global transaction banking at Deutsche Bank spoke to Finextra about the promise of Sepa and a borderless world for payments. You can watch it here.

09:08: The first EBAday was held in Frankfurt in 2006. After stints in Rome, Helsinki, Vienna, Luxembourg, Madrid and Edinburgh we're back in Germany, this time Berlin and the Estrel convention centre.

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09:05 CET: Guten Morgen! This year's EBAday is on the theme 'Towards a borderless world for payments'. We'll bring you news from a packed agenda of keynotes, panel discussions and debates covering global regulation, e- and m- payments, supply chain finance, liquidity management, treasury payments and, of course, Sepa.

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