The main topic of the latest round table talk traditionally organized by the Fortis Bank was the Single European Payment Area (SEPA).
Edit Sziraki, the general manager of the Fortis Bank opened the event, which had two keynote speakers: István Prágay representing the Hungarian National Bank (MNB) and Careme Raoul from the Fortis Bank in Brussels. „When we break down the borders of the economic activities of different nations, it is essential to eliminate the financial barriers, too.
SEPA is such a politically initiated and future oriented project, which aims at improving the welfare of the European people. The European payment traffic is more than the money transfers across the borders, so the establishment of the Single European Payment Area is necessary. The conditions of a welfare society will also be assured by introducing the new money transfer system”. – said István Prágay.
Careme Raoul also emphasised the necessity of the SEPA, which assures the integrated financial conditions for the government, companies and citizens inside and over the borders as well. „Fortis supports the process and offers help in Hungary, too” – he said. Ágnes Mézes, the Cash Manager of the Fortis Bank Hungary added: „ One of the bank's biggest advantages is that it operates a centralized salary processing system.
The Fortis Bank takes a leading role in establishing the SEPA and is committed to take all the necessary steps to build the operations system and technical background needed for the new payment system of the SEPA. Fortis has already successfully tested the SEPA together with the SWIFT and is ready to offer the new SEPA payment instruments for the SEPA countries from January, 2008 and supports the country specific payment methods during the transitional period, too.” New cross-border payments instruments – credit transfers, direct debits and card payments – will be created.
These will be introduced from January 2008 and to begin with will operate alongside existing domestic schemes. By the end of 2010, a critical mass of payments is expected to migrate to the new instruments. The countries so far involved is SEPA are the EU member states, plus Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Norway. SEPA will offer potential benefits to most business. Adopting SEPA credit transfers will make it simple to pay suppliers abroad as it is to by goods services in your own country.