Bundesbank: market participants should press ahead resolutely with the SEPA migration process

Two years ago, European legislators in a trilogue procedure with the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers passed the SEPA migration end-date Regulation (No 260/2012), stating 1 February 2014 as the end date for the existing credit transfer and direct debit schemes. The European Commission has now proposed that payment service providers may continue accepting credit transfers and direct debits in the national format until 1 August 2014. This would postpone the end date for SEPA by six months. The proposal can only enter into force once it has been endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. 

The banking industry, enterprises, public institutions and associations in Germany have already invested a great deal of effort into ensuring that the end date of 1 February 2014 would be met. Although the Bundesbank has stressed in recent weeks that much work still needs to be done in Germany, "we were nevertheless confident that the target could be met", said Carl-Ludwig Thiele, Member of the Deutsche Bundesbank’s Executive Board. He added that "the time and effort invested in the changeover has not been in vain as SEPA is definitely coming". The European Commission’s proposal should under no circumstances lead to market participants losing confidence regarding their preparations for migration. "I urge all market participants to press ahead resolutely with their SEPA projects and to assume that the changeover will take place on 1 February 2014", said Thiele. Moreover, the concrete implications of the Commission’s proposal still have to be analysed and discussed with all the parties involved in the German payments market.