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28.01.2008

UniCredit introduces SEPA throughout Europe

 Within the scope of the SEPA launch, from today [Monday, January 28, 2008] UniCredit Group will be making a common euro payments platform available to its 240,000+ corporate customers in Europe. SEPA simplifies the centralisation of national accounts by consolidating them into a central account. At the same time, the costs associated with a widespread network of accounts will be significantly reduced. Cash flow and liquidity planning activities will likewise see a substantial improvement.

“Cash management and payment transactions are one of the focal points of corporate banking in UniCredit Group. Our aim is to provide our corporate clients with the best possible service. Thanks to our European orientation, we have already been well acquainted with the relevant market expertise and technologies for quite some time, enabling us to handle European payment transactions in a professional manner”, says Marco Bolgiani, Head of GTB Global Transaction banking in UniCredit Corporate Banking.  “We also anticipate growth in national and international payment transactions in future. Our strong position in Italy, Germany and Austria as well as in central and eastern Europe gives us an ideal platform in this regard. In total, last year UniCredit Group processed and settled more than 3.5 billion transactions for its customers in Europe.”

UniCredit Group's corporate banking advisers are currently supporting clients in the transition to SEPA, the aim being to jointly exploit growth opportunities in Europe. UniCredit has a network of more than 9,000 branches in 23 european countries, and ranking in paramount position in central an eastern Europe. The SEPA region extends to include 31 countries; UniCredit is represented in 18 of these, with 38 banks established on site. In these SEPA countries, CreditTransfer system is being introduced today, which basically corresponds to a remittance by transfer. In parallel, work is currently under way on the introduction of Direct Debits. In Germany, SEPA direct debit system will be introduced in January 2009. Since the European Union is still in the process of supplementing the body of rules and regulations on Direct Debits, a launch throughout Europe is anticipated starting in November 2009.

Outside the SEPA region, UniCredit Group is represented in ten further countries in central and eastern Europe, where UCG provides its corpororate clients with the benefits of efficient payment transaction services. With its network product known as Flash Payment, for instance, UniCredit already guarantees overnight payments today to 32 banks of the UniCredit Group in 21 countries – also in local currency. Of these countries, eight area located outside the SEPA area. “Flash Payment makes us the clear market leader in Europe, since the one-day waiting period in the SEPA region is only scheduled for the year 2012. Until then, banks in the SEPA countries will need to process payments within three working days”, says Ernst Ohmayer, Head of Cash Management and e-Banking in UniCredit.
UniCredit offers its corporate customers a further advantage with its EuropeanGate system. This solution enables every enterprise engaged in cross-border operations to administer all accounts via a single, central entry point. The centralised EuropeanGate service is accessible from any given location and assists corporate clients in handling their whole volume of payment transactions for Europe via a single unit – a service that is convenient, transparent and secure, with the capacity to source account information on all accounts on a centralised basis. Using EuropeanGate, UniCredit corporate customers can already process cross-border debit notes today, for instance, a facility that will be possible via SEPA only towards the end of 2009.

Enquiries: Bank Austria Creditanstalt Communications Austria
Alexander Tröbinger, tel. +43 (0)5 05 05 52809;
e-mail: alexander.troebinger@ba-ca.com