newsletter from the European Payments Council (EPC) provides some interesting insights into SEPA migration to date, but offers little advice and guidance to the corporate sector about how best to prepare for SEPA migration. Given the disagreement and confusion
around how best to encourage migration to the SEPA Schemes, it is no surprise that many corporates are still in the dark when it comes to their own SEPA migration, both in terms of the timeframes and the required changes that need to be made in order to take
advantage of the channel. As the EPC newsletter states, ‘the majority of market participants recognise that successful completion of SEPA is contingent upon setting an end date for migration’, and while the Commission, the EPC and the SEPA Council debate on
the exact format this should take, corporates are left wondering how and when these changes will ultimately affect them.
Without a clear and defined end date, there is a risk that the industry will retain its current attitude of ‘wait and see’, and SEPA will slip down the agenda as other, more immediate projects take priority. However, there is also a major opportunity for
the more proactive banks to work with corporates and support them through their SEPA migration. That way banks will be increasing customer satisfaction and hopefully loyalty at the same time. In particular, processes such as converting bank account data into
the new IBAN and BIC formats could require support or advice from banks, particularly where the existing data is incorrectly formatted or contains hidden errors.
Banks can seize this opportunity to develop relationships with their corporate customers or perhaps even acquire some new ones. Ultimately however, the banking industry’s ability to take a proactive approach with its corporate customers will be held back
until the various European stakeholders are able to agree the exact requirements for SEPA. Until that happens, corporates are likely to remain wary and take up will remain relatively low for the foreseeable future.