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Going Global with SEPA

In this month’s Executive Interview, we are delighted to feature Dr Ernst Ohmayer of UniCredit. In addition to sharing his expertise on SEPA, Dr Ohmayer, in conversation with Helen Sanders, argues that banks’ and corporations’ investment in SEPA has far wider implications than simply the euro payments area.

Why is SEPA such an important topic for UniCredit?

SEPA is important for every company doing business in Europe, and we have been proactive over a number of years both to prepare our own systems and processes for SEPA migration, and to encourage our customers to do the same. Today, with the end dates for national formats now defined as February 2014, the situation is clear, and corporates can no longer delay making their preparations. However, while the need for SEPA migration within the euro payments area is well-publicised, the issues and opportunities relating to non-euro payments are less so, as I will come on to shortly.

What trends are you seeing with respect to SEPA migration?

While there were a number of large multinational corporations that were early adopters of SEPA payment instruments, the majority of corporates have not yet migrated from national payment instruments to SEPA. Since the end dates for national payment formats were set, however, we are undoubtedly witnessing an acceleration in SEPA migration. We have spent a lot of time talking to customers and helping them to understand and overcome the issues associated with migration, but some uncertainties still remained. With market practices now more clearly defined, they are in a position to start their projects.