Thursday, September 28, 2006

Everything's coming up PE-ACHs

The debate around how many PE-ACHs can Europe sustain when the Single Euro or European Payments Area comes into being, appears to be hotting up. At a recent TWIST event at the BT Tower in London, Eric Sepkes of Citigroup challenged David Deacon of the European Commission's Internal Market and Services DG as to why the EC was not phased by the fact that there could be 25 potential SEPA-compliant ACHs? "SEPA compliant ACHs isn't that a contradiction?" asked Sepkes, adding that the number of ACHs that wanted to be SEPA compliant could cause fragmentation.

Deacon looked somewhat uncomfortable with Sepkes' question. At the launch of the World Payments Report by Capgemini, ABN AMRO bank expressed its interest in seeing consolidation of Europe's myriad ACHs sooner rather than later, saying that the issue was about "reachability" within Europe.

Whilst the Dutch payments provider Interpay may have consolidated its position following its merger with Transaktionsinstitut, UK-based Voca is expected to announce its alliance with a major global bank at Sibos in Sydney. But will that appease its critics or those at the EPC who reportedly take a somewhat dim view of other ACHs within Europe other than the EBA's STEP 2 wanting to become PE-ACHs?

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