French Banking Federation Calls for Interchange Mechanism for SEPA Direct Debt

The French Banking Federation (FBF) believes the European regulation published by the European Commission (EC) on 16 December 2010 creates a handicap for the implementation of the single euro payments area (SEPA) payment scheme. The regulation establishes new technical and pricing requirements for SEPA Credit Transfers (SCTs) and Direct Debits (SDDs), leading the National SEPA Committee to express very strong concerns.

French banks are displeased to see such provisions put in place now that the SEPA payment scheme has already been launched. SCTs have been in effect since January 2008 and SDDs since November 2010. Certain details, which had already been defined, are now called into question. Furthermore, the EC reserves the right to make other changes at its own discretion. This kind of instability generates operational problems and additional costs for all economic operators.

The EC also wants to prohibit the remuneration of interbank services, without proposing another viable economic model. In such case, consumers’ banks could no longer be compensated easily and transparently for services rendered to creditors’ banks, thus undermining the very principle of the interbank system as it stands, with all of its advantages in terms of quality of customer service, pricing transparency and general transaction security.

Within the framework of the talks set to begin on the draft regulation, the FBF is once again asking the EC to maintain an interchange mechanism for SDDs and to eliminate the newly proposed technical requirements.


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