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So far, so bad...

It seems wrong to start the New Year on a sour note, but as we approach the two-year anniversary of the SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) go-live, it’s hard to find a silver lining to this particular cloud.

The latest figures from August 2009 show that the share of SCT in the inter-bank domain as a percentage of total volume of credit transfers has hit 4.5% in the euro area. Although many in the industry have long called for an end-date to give SEPA the impetus it so desperately needs, these calls have now become urgent. Many believe that only an end-date will push the overall percentage of credit transfers any further up the scale.

Despite the general doom and gloom, there are areas where uptake has been significant, but this is the exception rather than the norm. Let’s take Cyprus and Malta as an example. Both joined the Euro in January 2008 and both have relatively small populations. However, comparing the use of SCT as a percentage of all credit transfers, Cyprus reached 60% in H1 2009, whereas Malta languishes at 4.7%. Clearly, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

An end-date will obviously help to improve overall uptake of SCTs, but the lack of a fixed deadline is being used as an excuse in some quarters. A sheepdog to round everyone up and point them in the right direction wouldn’t go amiss. Any volunteers?


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