BRUSSELS, 1 April 2020 - While the Covid-19 crisis rages on, payments provide a lifeline for people, authorities and businesses alike. To ensure payments flow, Europe’s banking industry plays a much-needed role. Beyond the crisis and the immediate challenges, the European banking industry offers its view on how to build the next phase of the EU single market for payments.
The European Credit Sector associations – European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB), European Banking Federation (EBF) and the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) – issue today a new publication that provides a vision of how the EU retail payments framework can move forward (Payments policy for Europe). Working with their members during the past months to write the comprehensive 20-page paper notes that the European payments market has undergone fundamental changes over the past years, sparked by a mix of changing customer needs, regulatory action, technology and innovation, and more intense competition. This change will continue and the European banking industry is essential in the future development of the EU retail payments market. To reach the next level, instant payments will play heavily.
The paper highlights the three associations’ member commitment to a strong, innovative and competitive EU retail payments market. A starting point by the trio to kick-start the policy debate to create a well-thought, sensible EU strategy for retail payments, it comes at a crucial time. Over the past year, European decision-makers have placed more geo-political weight on payments. A political push within Europe can help raise the euro’s international role and strengthen European sovereignty vis-à-vis global competitors. The three associations see the strategic value the payments market presents and the urgent need for action it requires. This effort needs a coherent strategy on an integrated and competitive EU payments market as the industry faces considerable challenges on the road to superior, world-class European payment solutions.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought once more to the fore the importance of well-functioning of payment services with European supervisors asking banks to pay specific attention to this during the containment period. Fully aware of the responsibility placed on their members in ensuring the functioning of payment services, the EBF, EACB and ESBG consider that this responsibility does not only apply in these extraordinary circumstances. It always has and will continue to be important to support Europe’s companies when conducting business and people in running their lives, including when the current situation normalises.