SEPA took the king’s crown, and I’m not going to insist on the details, maybe just to mention that Ruth Wandhöfer, Citi, announced that EBF will work on the SEPA guidelines and will come with clarifications on national products which at the first glanced appeared to be niche products, to which appropriate transitional period might be applied, but at a closer look are just flavors of credit transfers or direct debits. So… keep an eye on the EBF site!
Other interesting subjects were discussed there, and I will mention just those debated in the sessions I could attended, as I also had duties in our stand as part of being an exhibitor. I will mention the discussion on the convergence of the trade finance and corporate payments, where Enrico Camerinelli, Aite Group, made a classification of the supply chain finance instruments and added to traditional documentary credits and open accounts the “other” category, in which he included leasing and project financing. The two bankers, members of the panel, agreed that in the new landscape banks will lose the payments business if they are going to focus on specific processes without approaching the entire chain and offering their corporate customers a better visibility on all their processes.
In the same top with the SEPA gospel we now have the innovation blues. It has even a broader audience and its rhythms will accompany us longer, especially after the regulation and the end date will drive the SEPA discussions from the elaboration phase into trivial maintenance. Guy Moons, Clear2Pay, had a very practical remark that instead of trying to guess who is going to be the winner scheme, banks should focus on implementing robust solutions, built on open standards, which will allow them to build winner products, a link to Standard Charter dream pack offering.
Hays Littlejohn, UBS AG, came with the front office view on what technology can bring to payments, one of the points being the leverage of the social networks as a means by which social friends can bring their own references to banks. I started to smile thinking at one of our customers, a microfinance institution which offers group loans to its Kenyan clients and who has already implemented a similar model: instead of collateral they are using guarantees offered by “social friends”, in their case a group of relatives and friends.
Let’s see how gospel and blues are evolving in the European space where, right now, Sirtaky is on the spot…