17 banks to start SEPA testing with SWIFT

Sibos, Sydney - 11 October 2006

Major banks to test compliance of payments with SEPA standards across Eurozone from Q3 2007

SWIFT announced today that 17 major banks will test compliance of payments with SEPA standards across the Eurozone from Q3 2007. SWIFT will provide the messaging platform, testing solutions, services and the organisational infrastructure to support this initiative in coordination with the European Payments Council (EPC) and banks.

Major banks across Europe, as well EBA Clearing have joined the initiative. Corporates will also be able to participate. Testing will be organised through ACHs, bilateral clearing and other Clearing and Settlement Mechanisms across Europe.

This initiative is significant because it ensures similar procedures are used across SEPA irrespective of clearing arrangements and it generates testing results that allow consistent interpretation by all parties.
Rigorous testing will generate important benefits:
• Compliance – it will encourage strict compliance with SEPA core mandatory standards as defined by the EPC;
• Interoperability – it will foster interoperability across Europe by avoiding the emergence of variances to the SEPA ISO 20022 standard;
• Migration - contribute to smoother implementation and faster migration to SEPA;
• Costs - share investment costs and effort amongst stakeholders and substantially reduce the price and complexity of SEPA implementation.

"With this testing we, together with other important market players, have the means to ensure that the new SEPA formats will work throughout the SEPA market place without country restrictions," comments Wolfgang Gaertner, CIO, Deutsche Bank.

“ABN AMRO is committed to the success of SEPA. Early and well-managed testing of compliance is in the interest of all market participants. We are very pleased that SWIFT brings its infrastructure and expertise to support this initiative,” Ann Cairns, CEO Transaction Banking, ABN AMRO.

Banks involved in the initiative to date: ABN AMRO, Bank of America, Banco Bilbao, Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Santander Central Hispano, Caisse Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne, Commerzbank, Crédit Mutuel – CIC, Deutsche Bank, Fortis, ING
JPMorgan Chase, Natexis Banques Populaires, Nordea, SANPAOLOIMI, SEB, Société Générale and UBS.

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