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Nero fiddles while Rome burns

As we approach the end of Sibos, activity in the exhibition halls continues, at least for us, at a high level. Outside the Sibos 'bubble', when the media intrude, it seems that all hell has broken loose in the financial world. Certainly, this has been a subdued Sibos but thankfully attendees are still grappling here with the issues and challenges that continue to face the transaction banking community. Has progress been made this week on their resolution? At least there is clarity emerging about what has to be done to get SEPA back on track: greater collaboration between the ECB, the European Commission, the EPC and the corporates; an agreed end date for the legacy payment instruments; resolution of the multilateral interchange fee issue for SEPA Direct Debits; and a workable business model for direct debits across the EU.

Some banks are still asking, in respect of SDDs, "what is the minimum we can get away with?" And this week, an out-country bank posed the question: "what would happen if we didn't actually sign up to SDDs ?" The truth is that no-one really knows. But what is clear is that the business case for SEPA needs to be built and built fast. Regardless of what is going on outside the Sibos 'bubble' ...


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