So, at last, the EU Commission is bowing to the inevitable by launching a consultation on the possibility of an end-date for the migration from legacy payment instruments (credit transfer and direct debit) to the new SEPA products. This has to be welcomed
but it's sad that it's taken so long to get to this point. If only self-regulation had delivered what it should have...
But now can we all sit back and relax, comfortable in the knowledge that this consultation will clear up the mess for us? Well, actually, no. Just look at the questions the Commission is asking:
"Should it cover only standards, or schemes as well? Should it cover only the interbank space, or the bank-to-customer space as well? Should it entail full migration or allow the exclusion of certain products? If an end-date is seen as needed, should there
be one common end-date for SCT and SDD migration or two separate end-dates? Should they be set at national level and/or at European level? Should they be left to self-regulation or set by regulation?"
Aren't we in danger of going round in circles here? Just imagine if we have a situation where each country's banking community sets its own separate end-dates for SCT and SDD, and while they're at it, exclude some specific instruments. I would hazard a guess
that such a scenario hardly moves us on at all.
We've tried leadership by consensus and it really hasn't got us very far. Now is the time for effective and clear leadership. Sound familiar?