20 June 2019
The need for pan-European schemes is acknowledged, now it's time for action
I look back on two very interesting days at EBAday, where I was surrounded by visions, opinions and trends by different market leaders in the era of Open Banking. I can summarize the key message of this event in two words: European collaboration. This theme was buzzing through the streets of Stockholm where this edition of EBAday took place.
For those who doubt whether the industry and especially banks are ready for industry-scale collaborations, the poll by Michael Steinbach, CEO at equensWorldline, was an eye-opener. Steinbach asked the audience on the first day whether the public believes we need a European scheme. Everyone grabbed their smartphones to vote and it showed a large positive, progressive majority of 75 percent. A more striking example of the changing mindset in the payment industry is hardly imaginable. Banks that see each other not only as competitors but also as partners is a clear signal of the changing circumstances in the payments industry.
Remarkably confident and positive
Of course, the changing circumstances are largely dictated by the inexhaustible innovation drive of GAAFA (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba). This does not change the fact that banks have shown themselves to be remarkably confident and positive about the future. At EBAday, I tasted the belief among the participants, in particular banks, payment solution providers, and FinTechs, that they can together develop products with which customers are perfectly satisfied.
I am really content with my first visit to EBAday. It stood out to me that financial players who compete with each other on a daily base, are shaking hands everywhere in the building. Especially in these times in which cooperation is essential, it is good to see that companies from the financial industry find each other at events such as EBAday.
Sense of urgency
In addition to the confident attitude, there is another area in which banks have made a growth spurt in the past year: the awareness and a sense of urgency that European collaboration is the way forward has become top of mind for most industry leaders. I have also noticed that most parties are now recognising that a standardised pan-European payment infrastructure must form the basis, but that the difference will be made via ‘on-top’ services.
It is now up to the financial stakeholders to look at how the cooperation between different players from different cultures needs to be shaped and who should take the lead in the development of guidelines that are accepted by all European players.
European market share
Once banks have established the guidelines and market infrastructure together, they can start doing what they perhaps prefer to do; compete with each other by developing new products that can be embraced by European customers. This way, we can split the market share in the European payments sector as much as possible among European players, just like the ECB and European banks have in mind. In any case, there is a sense of urgency, and now we need to add European decisiveness to this. It is time for action.
So much for my report from Stockholm. It was a pleasure to visit EBAday. Thank you all.