EU Commission postpones SEPA due to banks ill-preparedness
Few SMEs have been able to test their system with their banks.
Lack of proper testing would mean greater error handling costs for business.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association, reacting to the announcement that SEPA[i], (Single Euro Payments Area) has needed to be postponed by the EU Commission, has criticised the lazy banks in Ireland and across the EU for their lack of preparedness in not ensuring SEPA solutions were in place for the business community and the SME sector in particular. The Association, however, welcomes this decision, which will allow a smoother migration to the new system for many SMEs, on the assumption that the banks will now do their job properly.
Speaking today, ISME chief executive, Mark Fielding said: “Once more, as ISME had warned, the Irish banks have let us down by dragging their collective heels in the implementation of SEPA. It is regretful but proper that the EU has intervened to prevent a disaster because of bank negligence and mismanagement.
Given more time it is now imperative that the Central Bank take a more active role in ensuring that at least the banks trading in Ireland will be fully ready by August. This will mean less error handling costs for business.It is essential that banks and payment service providers deliver good validation tools and test facilities to ensure that payments are successful by August implementation.
ISME is recommending the following;
Irish banks be ordered to speed up their implementation and testing procedures.
An increase in national SEPA awareness advertising and promotion.
All SMEs to review their requirements and demand better service from their banks in the lead up to implementation.
In conclusion Fielding warned of the consequences of the banks’ continued negligence on the ability of SMEs to transact cross border and local payment. “The history of Irish banks in how they deal with customers is appalling, with an attitude of ‘bank profits first; customers later’, in the context of SEPA, they have already let us down. It is now incumbent on the ECB and Central Bank to ensure that the banks change their ways and properly assist in the change-over to SEPA by the extended deadline”.