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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
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Friday, May 22, 2009
In particular, there are issues with the SEPA model.
This was illustrated by two questions put to delegates at the start of the IPS 2009 sessions on SEPA implementation, that received overwhelming agreement: we need to create new cooperative models with the involvement of all market participants – banks, users, suppliers and regulators (70%); and we need to widen our vision of the types of services and infrastructures we should provide, such as e-billing, e-invoicing and supply chain data (75%).
Rob Jonker, Senior Product Manager, Global Payments, Deutsche Bank said the SEPA business case for corporates was still very minor. Large corporates do view SEPA as part of a bigger picture and potentially strategic, but the lack of an end date was a problem.
Mario de Lorenzo, Director of Payments Systems, SIA-SSB, said banks’ payments architectures must evolve in order to optimise processes and reduce costs. Standards would enable innovative services to be developed that can increase revenues and reduce time to market.
A key message that emerged from the sessions on SEPA was the need for better communication between banks and corporates.
Ashley Dowson, Chairman of The SEPA Consultancy, said the leadership of the political agenda had “disappeared” during the past few years. “SEPA customers were excluded from discussions for too long and are now too vocal. There must be a balance between banks and their users. Banks need to stretch their budgets to provide the services that are required, but corporates mustn’t request certain services merely to antagonise banks.”
Martine Brachet, Head of Interbank Relationships, Payment Services Division, Société Générale reminded delegates that SDDs were very complex and “there will be many lessons to be learned in November when they become a reality”. She also assured delegates that the French banking community had begun work on SDDs, having recently received clarification about multilateral interchange fees (MIFs). “The French banking community felt it was better to undertake all of the necessary preparation for SDDs before doing things we maybe could not manage.” France has committed to introduce SDDs in November 2010.
The MIF issue was important when it came to SEPA for cards as well. Norbert Bielefeld, Deputy Director, Payments and Securities, European Savings Bank Group, World Savings Banks Institute, reminded delegates of the principles of MIFs. “Interchange was successful in building and developing the cards business. If one of the objectives of SEPA is to have market transformation, you cannot have that without continued innovation. It is very difficult to innovate without investment and without MIFs this will be a real challenge.”
SEPA was introducing a more cooperative approach in the payments industry said Manfred Schuck, Executive Advisor to the Board of Directors at Equens. “Before SEPA was introduced, we had more than 30 different local infrastructures servicing only national markets. There will be a network community in the future comprised of partners. I think the number of infrastructure providers that will survive can be counted on the fingers of one hand.”
Marc Niederkorn, Director, McKinsey and Co, said SEPA would happen – something that a year ago he would have said with more caution. “SEPA will encourage interesting new economic models because banks will need to cut costs and increase efficiency. I think we will see much more outsourcing of operations that are difficult to manage inhouse, which is good news for the banks that can propose centralisation and network management.”
Jad Khallouf, Chief Executive Officer, STET, said SEPA expectations had been mismanaged. “You have to face up to SEPA if you are to survive but it is a huge challenge. Corporates are not ready, not only because of the lack of an end date. Like banks, they are striving to survive in the current economic turmoil.”
With the Payment Services Directive (PSD) due to come into effect from 1 November this year, Ruth Wandhofer, Head of Payments Strategy, EMEA Global Transaction Services, Citi, said there were still a number of challenges with the PSD, particularly for banks operating in more than one country across Europe.
“Most banks can tackle the customer communications aspect of the PSD at the last minute, but making the required system and procedure changes is more of a long-term project and some people are running slightly late on this.”
The overriding message that came out of the day was that the PSD cannot be reversed and financial institutions need to deal with it. As Dermot Turing, Partner, International Financial Institutions and Markets Group at Clifford Chance said: “It’s too late to argue about the content of the PSD. What law firms need to do now is help to interpret the PSD in a consistent way that minimises system and client-facing burdens.”
Daniela Umstätter, National Expert, Retail Issues, Consumer Policy and Payment Systems DG, European Commission said she was puzzled that uncertainty remained in the market about the transposition of the PSD into national law. “We are well on track with the PSD. Only one state, Sweden, has a problem with transposition and we will be helping them out. In general, the PSD is a fully harmonised directive, there is no room for interpretation and where there is, we are trying to solve it.”
John Burns, Senior Associate Retail Policy, Financial Services Authority had an uncompromising view: “The industry says complying with the PSD is difficult. We understand that, but the law is there and will have to be dealt with. Saying it is difficult doesn’t get us beyond what the law is.”
The PSD does present difficulties to banks, particularly those that operate in more than one country. Only the UK and Bulgaria have so far issued new payments laws based on the PSD. Concerns were raised about the treatment of leg-out transactions when no currency conversion was involved, what was meant by making funds immediately available, how to deal with late payments, charge codes for corporates, execution times for card payments and the impact of being non-compliant.
Bjorn Flismark, Senior Vice President, Global Transaction Services, SEB said the PSD changes a great deal for banks, imposing rules where previously they were used to doing “what they wanted or what they thought they could get away with”. Complying with D+1 on payments would require banks to consider new business models and how to charge customers in the future. “Those that have relied on float income in the past will be asking how they can replace this.” However, once systems have been changed “at a terrible cost”, banks will in the longer-term enjoy cheaper processing and simpler rules to live by.
Martin O’Donovan, Assistant Director, Policy and Technical, Association of Corporate Treasurers said from a corporate perspective, whether it takes one or three days for a payment to arrive is not crucial; having certainty is. The possibility of corporate opt-outs from certain provisions is being discussed among corporate treasurers and O’Donovan said many treasurers were taking stock of banking services and how they differ from country to country. “We are advising our members to ensure that they understand what they have so they can talk to banks in a meaningful way about opt-outs.”
Changes in law don’t make for a new market, it is business opportunities that do, Dr Thaer Sabri, Chief Executive, Electronic Money Association, reminded delegates. “If the PSD creates opportunities for a deluge of new payment institutions to come on to the market you would have to ask are these business opportunities that banks have left open? Money remitters, merchant acquirers and some third-party processors may all see opportunities in extending services. At the same time, some banks might hive-off their payments businesses and create specialist subsidiaries.”
Participants in the boot camp were left in little doubt that the PSD would have a significant impact on their payments operations. And as Burns pointed out, with countries outside the EU and EEA looking at the PSD, it may well be that in the future representatives from financial institutions elsewhere in the world will be mulling over the same questions.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Here are the results.
The first question was:
What is the value of transaction services (payments processing) to a bank?
32.7% A stable source of revenue
25.5% An anchor product for the bank to keep the customer
23.6% Provides infrastructure for enabling financial processes
Ah, so Johnny may have been right in thinking that banks view payments processing as a way to lock in customers. After all, money transmissions are the core of a bank’s services aren’t they?
What is your most pressing area for near-term focus in 2009?
38.2% New revenue sources
19.7% Risk management
15.8% Cost reduction
Interestingly the focus is finding growth, which is positive.
What is your most pressing area for longer-term?
82.89% New revenue sources
3.95% Cost reduction
I note here how risk management disappeared from the list. So risk is just a short-term focus whilst we get over this market blip?
Of the following, which are the most interesting areas in 2009?
54.23% SEPA and the Payment Services Directive
28.81% Remittances and mobile payments
15.75% Getting back to basics
1.69% MT202 Cover Payments
So over half the audience are focused upon SEPA and the PSD. Not surprising as it’s a European audience and, in a separate voting sessions, the audience were asked specifically about their views of SEPA and the PSD’s progress.
Is SEPA going to help Europe’s Lisbon agenda for an integrated EU financial marketplace?
23.8% No idea
Around a quarter of attendees, most of whom specialise in payments in the EU, have no idea whether SEPA will help the Lisbon agenda to create a single European financial market. Interesting.
Who is going to benefit most from SEPA?
4.55% Public Authorities
3.03% No idea
Apparently 84.85% of the audience were bankers and 12.12% corporate users. The other 3.03% just confused.
Will the PSD be implemented homogeneously throughout Europe?
5.8% No idea
I think the audience conclusively concur with some of Johnny Brit’s views (by the way, this poll was taken before his speech).
The interactive voting finished with the general question:
When do you expect the turnaround to happen?
1.5% Before summer 2009
10.6% Second half 2009
21.2% Early 2010
28.8% Mid 2010
28.8% Late 2010
Thursday, May 14, 2009
More often than not we are now seeing successes, with mobile finance ranging from simple person-to-person payments via short text messages; to contactless payments on the underground through Barclaycard’s partnership with O2 and Oyster; to full financial services through Monitise’s infrastructure behind HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group.
What is the latest state of play?
Find out at this Financial Services Technology Trends meeting where we will be joined by industry leaders and innovators including:
- József Nyíri, Chief Technology Officer, IND Group
- Richard Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer, Monitise
- Samee Zafar, Director, Edgar Dunn & Co
- Steve Townend, Chief Executive Officer, MoBank
József Nyíri leads the Innovation Lab of IND Group and is an evangelist in the online banking innovation area. The IND Banking Front-Office (IND BFO) is a complete sales and banking suite of channels including branch, internet, mobile, contact centre on the same centralized platform, improving service quality and performance.
Richard Johnson joined Monitise in 2006 to lead the development of their product and service roadmap after 20 years working with some of the UK financial services' leading brands. Monitise run a mobile banking and payments service with partners including VocaLink, Metavante, Sun Microsystems, BT Global Services, T-Systems, HSBC, First Direct, Alliance & Leicester, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Sprint, AT& T, Vodafone, Orange, O2, T-Mobile and Hutchison 3G.
Samee Zafar is a Director with Edgar Dunn & Co leading their annual Advanced Payments Study which is co-sponsored by Mobile Payments World magazine. Edgar, Dunn & Company (EDC) is an independent global financial services and payments consultancy founded in 1978.
Steve Townend is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MoBank, which is a new mobile service that allows customers to buy and pay for goods wherever and whenever they want. Steve was previously a founding Director of both Egg and First Direct.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The list is based upon the Associated Press formula which adds up salary, benefits, bonuses, preferential interest rates on pay set aside for later and company estimates for the value of stock options and stock awards on the day they were granted last year:
1. Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy Corp., $112.5 million
2. Sanjay Jha, Motorola Inc., $104.4 million
3. Robert Iger, Walt Disney Co., $51.1 million
4. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., $42.9 million
5. Kenneth Chenault, American Express Co., $42.9 million
6. Vikram Pandit, Citigroup Inc., $38.2 million
7. Steven Farris, Apache Corp., $37.2 million
8. Louis Camilleri, Philip Morris International Inc., $36.9 million
9. Kevin Johnson, Juniper Networks Inc., $36.1 million
10. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co., $35.7 million
Friday, May 1, 2009
Admittedly Chip & PIN did reduce fraud for a while in merchant stores, but it’s now on the rise again. At the end of the conversation, I realised why and how Chip & PIN happened and why it is here to stay. It also made me realise why Chip & PIN is not the solution and why mobile banking is taking so long to take off.
To illustrate the process, here’s a snapshot of one bank’s boardroom:
The boardroom meeting began with the minutes of the last meeting, apologies for absence and matters of the day. After the usual mutterings and demands and debates, the large oak-panelled door opened and Mr. Mobile stepped into the room.
“Ah, Mr. Mobile”, said the bank’s CEO, Big Cheese. “Welcome to Fusty Bank’s Monthly Board Meeting. As you can see we have the Chairman here and my cohorts in attendance.” The other attendees nodded at Mr. Mobile in welcome, “and the agenda item I believe you are presenting is: ‘the business case for Fusty Bank’s move into mobile banking’. Fire away.”
“Thank you Mr. Cheese”, replied Mr. Mobile. “And let me begin by saying what an honour it is to be here with you today”.
“Get on with it Mobile”, snapped Big Cheese.
Hmmm, that was a good start.
“Well lady and gentlemen”, Mr. Mobile had always liked the bank’s only female board member, Mrs. Human Resource, “I could present numbers to you but you have those in your books and background reading, so let us look at the three main points for investment in our mobile channels today. First for competitive reasons; second for customer and revenue growth; and third for cost savings.”
“Mobile, I have heard this so many times before”, said the Big Cheese.
The Chairman nodded in agreement and, a moment later, so did the cohorts.
This was not going well.
“We have business cases presented here every month and they are all the same”, Big Cheese continued. “They all talk about numbers, competition, customers and costs, so tell me something I don’t know.”
The room fell silent and Mr. Mobile felt a little despondent already, even though he had only been in the room for two minutes.
Mr. Mobile thought for a while and finally, after what felt like an eternity but was just a matter of a few seconds, he turned to Big Cheese’s Head of Fraud, Robin Banks, and said: “you wasted millions of the banks money by ignoring my business case.”
Robin’s face reddened and he closed his eyes.
Big Cheese turned and looked at Robin in surprise, whilst the Chairman gazed like a serpent watching the room’s dynamics.
Big Cheese quietly asks, “Robin, what does Mr. Mobile mean by this?”
Robin picked up his notes and tried to hide.
“Robin?” Big cheese was losing patience.
“Sir, yes sir. I think Mr. Mobile is referring to Chip & PIN sir”, Robin replied in a slightly shaky voice.
Both the Chairman and Big Cheese looked confused, so Mr. Mobile stepped in.
“That’s right Robin, and sorry to drop you in it but Chip & PIN was a farce.”
Big Cheese glowered and asked Mr. Mobile to explain his accusation.
“Well it’s not Robin’s fault really”, said Mr. Mobile, “but more the fault of the UK Banking Industry and APACS, what is now the Payments Council. But it’s not really their fault either. They were just too short-sighted to notice how rapidly the world was changing.”
“Look”, interrupted the Chairman, “we’re in the middle of a Board meeting, listening to your business case which has so far been very unimpressive.” The Chairman does not suffer fools gladly. “Either tell us the facts in a short and succinct fashion or you can get out of here now.”
“Sorry Mr. Chairman”, Mr. Mobile replied sheepishly, “I don’t wish to annoy but some of the facts are critical in the case for this business.”
Once again the Chairman said: “Make it short and sweet, Mr. Mobile”, and now he had the full attention of the room.
“A decade ago, the British banking industry decided to introduce a better way to avoid fraud and decided on Chip & PIN. This was agreed around 2002 after a global analysis determined that the French PIN card system, which had been in place since 1995, worked well and that the EMV Chip in Credit and Debit cards was functional enough for national deployment.” Mr. Mobile was on a roll.
“The system was launched in 2005 and mandated in 2006 when all merchants had to invest millions in new PIN terminals.”
“Mobile, I am getting bored”, sniffed Big Cheese. The Chairman’s eyes had closed about a minute ago and Mr. Mobile wasn’t even sure if he was still awake, and Robin Bank’s eyes were boring into Mr. Mobile’s forehead so hard that he felt them on his face like daggers.
“Sorry Mr. Chairman”, said Mr. Mobile, “but, you see, all that cost and effort was wasted.”
“I don’t see that”, said Big Cheese, “and unless you make yourself clear in less than a minute, you can leave the room.”
“OK sir, short and sweet”, Mr. Mobile now knew he had them.
“At the same time the UK determined upon Chip & PIN, Hungarians were rolling out an alert service which is now used across Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa and other economies. It’s a mobile telephone service which simply alerts customers every time their card is used with an SMS text message. It costs virtually nothing, customers love it and are willing to pay for the service, banks make money out of it, and no infrastructure or millions were spent on terminals to avoid fraud.”
He stopped and looked around the room.
The cohorts were sniggering, Robin Banks was festering, the Chairman was now wide awake and Big Cheese looked unhappy.
“You mean we didn’t need Chip & PIN?” asked Big Cheese.
“No sir”, said Mr. Mobile.
“Banks. Is this true?” asked Big Cheese.
Robin Banks visually trembled and said, “not strictly true sir. When APACS and the industry made this decision, we didn’t think mobile telephones were going to be as ubiquitous or usable as they are today.”
“Are you an idiot, Banks?” asked Big Cheese.
“No sir”, said Banks looking a little like Forrest Gump with his mouth wide open with surprise at such an accusation. “But bear in mind this was a decade ago when we were making the decision for Chip & PIN. How could we have known?”
“And what about those one-time password terminals the banks just spent more millions on rolling out?” asked Mr. Mobile.
Big Cheese was now looking distinctly angry.
“What terminals are you talking about now, Mobile?”
“Well sir”, says Mr. Mobile feeling more and more assured, “the very same group that made the decision to go down the Chip & PIN alley found that fraud at merchant’s terminals was reduced dramatically but the criminal fraternity just shifted their attention to the internet. As a result, the industry made a decision to give customers terminals to authenticate internet transactions.”
The Chairman grunted, “I’ve even used one!” he said.
Mr. Mobile smiled and continued: “The terminals work by entering your card and PIN. You then receive a unique one-time password code that you enter to authorise the payment. The fact that you enter that code proves the cardholder is present.”
“So that sounds good if it reduces fraud online”, said Big Cheese.
“It is. Except that customers hate it and the cost of the terminals has been a waste of money”, says Mr. Mobile.
“Is this true Banks?” roared Big Cheese.
Robin Banks cowered back in his chair, “not strictly true sir.”
“Is it or isn’t it?” asked the Chairman.
“It is but we ...” before Banks could finish Big Cheese growled “get out of my sight” and the two bank security officers who guard every Board meeting picked Banks’ chair up off the floor, with him in it, and physically removed him from the meeting.
“Explain more Mobile”, said the Chairman.
Mr. Mobile was now really pleased with how it was all going and ploughed onwards and upwards ... or so he thought.
“The fact is that, just as a phone can be used for fraud alerts to customers, it can also be used for one-time password generation and authentication.”
“How?” Big Cheese asked the question, looking genuinely interested.
“Well, every time a transaction needs authentication, we send an alert to the customer with details of the transaction via an SMS message to their phone. They should send back a message to the bank server saying it’s ok with a secure code to prove it is them. The bank server then sends them the unique one-time password number as a text message which they enter into the online payment system. Voila. Job done.”
Big Cheese leaned forward and said, “this all sounds remarkably simple Mobile, so why didn’t we do this?”
Mobile smiled and said, “well, we could have done. However, we were so wrapped up with working as a collegiate industry together, and then with all the vagaries and challenges of the Chip & PIN rollout followed by the urgent issues of internet and cardholder not present fraud, that the password terminal and keyfobs seemed the obvious thing to do. However, it once again cost the industry millions, didn’t solve the problem, irritated the customer and created more complexity. If only these people making the decisions could have seen the opportunity for mobile telephones, it would have been so much more simple, cheap, cost-effective and fast.”
“Anything else?” asked Big Cheese.
“Yes, it would also have generated revenue and profit for the bank as the mobile service is a service that customers would pay for, rather than being forced to use”, said Mobile.
“Well, thank you Mr. Mobile. A most interesting presentation and business case”, said the Chairman. “Do you have anything else to say before we conclude?”
“Only that we now have a fantastic opportunity to not only differentiate Fusty Bank from the competition, overcome fraud and create great customer service experiences, but that we can also add on many more revenue-generating applications and services to the mobile.”
“Such as?” The Chairman, Big Cheese and the cohorts were all now listening to every word Mr. Mobile said.
“Billing, payments, remittances, proximity services and marketing, 24*7advisory and support for customer financial management ... anything really. It’s effectively like placing the whole bank in the customer’s hand and, as a result, you can create far more customer activity and revenue.”
Big Cheese digested what Mr. Mobile had just said. He flicked through the notes in the business case. He quietly whispered a few words in the Chairman’s ear and the Chairman nodded.
Big Cheese then waved a finger at the security guards by the door, who came over and talked quietly with Big Cheese. Upon completion of these discussions, they approached Mr. Mobile.
“What’s going on?” asked Mr. Mobile.
“Taking care of business”, said Big Cheese, at which point the two guards lifted Mr. Mobile off his feet and threw him head first out of the Boardroom window.
The cohorts screamed, with several looking visibly distressed. One was even sick.
When the furore died down a little, Big Cheese addressed them all in a very stern manner.
“Colleagues. What you have just seen is something I hoped you would never see, but it had to be done I’m afraid.”
The cohorts squealed and squirmed.
“You see, Mr. Mobile just committed the ultimate crime in banking.”
The cohorts shook and trembled.
“He pointed out the folly of our ways.”
The cohorts moaned and groaned.
“We do not like wasting money and losing revenues.”
One of the cohorts then had the temerity to ask Big Cheese the question they had all be dying to ask (in Mr. Mobile’s case literally).
“So, we are going to rollout mobile services sir?”
“Of course not you fool”, bellowed Big Cheese, rounding on the individual concerned with his face bursting into reds, purples and veins bulging, “we’re going to bury this whole discussion until someone comes into this market with a product that works and then we shall copy it.”
The room went deathly quiet.
Not even a mouse.
Then the Chairman decided it was time to retake control.
“Big Cheese. Why would we do that?”
“Because Mr. Chairman, we cannot afford to let the mobile carriers eat our lunch and I am not about to write-off a ten year security program that cost us millions.”
“Oh yes. I forgot.”
With this, Big Cheese called the meeting to a close and left the room.
Robin Banks, who had been hiding behind the Boardroom door listening to the meeting through the keyhole, crashed into the filing cabinets as Big Cheese pushed the door open with a hefty boot.