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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

EC clamps down on cross-border direct debit charges

The European Commission (EC) says it is proposing an extension of existing regulations to ensure that cross-border direct debit payments made in euros cost the same as domestic transactions.

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Regulation is sometimes good

So the European Commission is proposing to repeal Regulation 2560/2001, considered as the inception of SEPA, and replace it with a new Regulation with extended scope to cover SEPA Direct Debits. That of course is laudable and we should welcome any regulatory change in this area to speed the introduction and adoption of the new SEPA payment instruments.

Interestingly, on the same day as this EC announcement, there has been much media coverage of an interview with the new chairman of the UK's Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner of Ecchinswell. This banking regulator has much to say on the causes and remedies for the current 'credit crisis', and unsurprisingly has some trenchant views on regulation itself. At one point, he is reported as saying: "We shouldn't regulate for its own sake, but over-regulation and red tape have been used as a polemical bludgeon. We have probably been over-deferential to that rhetoric." In other words, regulation to the right and appropriate degree has a lot to recommend it.

Extending that concept to SEPA would suggest that self-regulation by the banks has run its course - now is the time for a bit of appropriate regulation to really get SEPA moving. Food for thought . . . . .



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