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Are we deluding ourselves?

During this week at Sibos I have seen the results of several surveys around SEPA.  Most would imply that the industry is not only positively engaged, but will achieve full migration by 2012 at the latest.

However, my private conversations with fellow European bankers would not support such optimism.  During these I have learnt that there are expected difficulties in several countries around implementation of the PSD, leading me to conclude that the hoped for national adoption by November 2009 is unlikely to be achieved in many countries.  This means a SEPA direct debit service cannot be launched successfully.

Add to this simply fact the comments yesterday by corporate representatives here at SIBOS that banks 'must develop a deeper insight into treasury back office and IT processes if they want to play a bigger role in the financial and physical supply chain'. This does not imply we have the trust to migrate our customers to new SEPA products and the further innovative solutions expected to provide banks with the hoped for revenue streams.

A third fact to throw into this blog would be a figure the European Commission recently gave me - they see only 10-15 banks as truly embracing the end game for SEPA.

Now you could call me cynical, but these facts say to me that the payment players in Europe still have a steep up hill struggle over the next 5 years plus.  On Monday I heard the comment that the world would look very different in 5 years: my Japanese friend sitting next to me said 'we said this 5 years ago'.  And of course it is true.  I do think the world will change and whilst I would like to believe it will be significantly different in 5 years, I fear it will take much longer.

I will leave you to decide how long, passed on the messages you are hearing.

Good Luck to all in your migration implementation.


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