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Banking association lambasts EU for SEPA paper

16th February 2006
By Nick Kingsley

The European Savings Banks Group (ESBG) has come out fighting in response to an EU consultation paper on the pan-European payments project.

In its consultation paper, the EU is advocating further regulatory action to ensure the single European payments area (SEPA) concept comes to fruition as intended by 2010. The EU is seemingly concerned that the current pace of change within the banking sector means that this deadline will be missed, or that only elements of the intended project will actually be delivered.

"Up-front judgments made by the commission (for example, '[the commission is] afraid that products based on the schemes as currently developed may not be persuasive to all end users') will create market uncertainty and delay adoption of the pan-European payment instruments," ESBG says.

"It is essential that the commission reconciles its vision of SEPA with the project risk undertaken by the banking industry. ESBG further notes that the commission only now expresses criticism of the banking industry's governance and its scheme formulation processes, although the commission had been kept closely and regularly informed of every development since 2003," the group adds.

In particular, ESBG questions the EU's assertion that, "the single European payments area will result in tremendous gains and potential savings for society," on the grounds that there is little quantitative evidence to back up such a claim.

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