ECB tells firms to buck up Sepa migration efforts

ECB tells firms to buck up Sepa migration efforts

The European Central Bank (ECB) has warned that many companies are leaving Sepa migration too late, leaving themselves open to serious problems when the February 2014 deadline arrives.

In a report, the ECB says that with just 11 months until the migration deadline for Sepa (Single euro payments area) credit transfers and direct debits, large swathes of the continent is behind schedule.

While most corporations have already completed the planning phase and know what Sepa will mean for them in practical terms, a number have adopted very late internal deadlines for actual implementation, waiting until the end of 2013. This is a "source of concern", in particular when it comes direct debits, warns the report.

More worryingly, small and medium enterprises' (SMEs) and local public administrations' awareness of the programme is still "fragmented and the level of preparedness is rather poor".

For a project with so many technical details which need to be reflected in end-users' back-office systems and internal processes, leaving migration until the last minute is "highly undesirable" and could see some companies hit with payment order handling disruption.

Therefore, the ECB has implored big billers, public administrations and SMEs, to migrate "at the earliest stage possible", preferably by the third quarter, in order to avoid risks which could hit the wider supply chain and would put the Sepa migration at risk.

To avoid such risks, payment service providers need to make customer servicing channels ready for Sepa transactions as soon as possible - no later than the second quarter - and put resources into familiarising end-users with technical, business and contractual issues.

Benoît Cœuré, member of the executive board, ECB, says: "Adapting to Sepa involves adjusting a lot of technical and business procedures over a limited period of time. Projects of this kind should not be left to the last moment. I hope that all stakeholders will take migration to Sepa Payment instruments as a top priority."

Read the full migration report here:

Download the document now 1 mb (PDF File)

Comments: (5)

Gary Wright
Gary Wright 21 March, 2013, 19:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hands up who has received any communication from their banks about SEPA? Thought not. Hardly anyone i talk to about SEPA has a clue what is and what they should do or not what benefit it is to their business or not if they should push their banks or invest in technology or change their procedures and so on and on. This such a badly run industry project with those pushing it not taking enough hands on and expecting everyone to be there. You gota tell people chaps!

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 23 March, 2013, 11:01Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

This is not surprising. The SEPA Schemes destroy value for the user. Their sole benefit is harmonisation across the SEPA Area (do we still colour Cyprus in blue for that?).

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 25 March, 2013, 12:00Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Not surprising. I hear corporates asking what's in it for them and no one to answer their valid question.

Gary Wright
Gary Wright 25 March, 2013, 12:16Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I think the management of this industry project has been truly abysmal and why there is fragmentation between Corporates and Banks and why there is no joined up thinking. Just creating a law or rules and expecting everything to just happen is never going to work. Typical of European thinking that they really thought it would 

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 27 March, 2013, 11:06Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Agree with all comments here. Not enough info out there & so many more other regulations that have taken precedent per impact to bottom-line, reg. compliance, post-trade work-flow impact  & crucially, historic business-models. I have engineering friends whom laugh when I tell them stories like this and are staggered, literally  staggered at the inefficiencies in financial-services. Best quote from one of my friends "Beneath that veneer of suits & nice corporate buildings, your industry looks like a mess". Sigh, we're getting hammered on the street because of episodes like this. 
Hope your well Gary, saw an old mucker of yours from NT recently, Ernie Stelzner, great guy, old-school city whom speaks highly of yourself :) 
Take care out there.