Transforming Banking for Customers at the 2017 BPFI National Conference

Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today held our annual national conference, Transforming Banking for Customers at the Marker Hotel in Dublin. Opened by Vincent Wall, Newstalk, the conference hosted a gathering of key senior bankers, policy makers and other key stakeholders to examine the impact of digital innovation on customer services and the policy and regulatory environment necessary to support this.

Among those contributing to the conference were Ruth MCCarthy, CEO, FEXCO Corporate Payments, who provided an overview of PSD2 and how it is set to transform the sector; Santiago Fernandez de Lis, Head of Financial Systems and regulation, BBVA Research, who spoke on how the nature of change in the sector is being driven by a combination of transformative forces; and Alex Weber of N26 who outlined the high expectations of digital natives and how trends have moved from offline to online to mobile.

In his welcome address, BPFI President Jonathan Lowey highlighted the importance of understanding and embracing the ongoing transformation in banking, observing how, “The combination of customers’ evolving preferences and technological advances provides for the development and delivery of banking services in innovative ways. In responding to that opportunity we all need to be mindful of the challenge which I would summarise as follows: how to facilitate the deployment of financial technology, that provides for a level playing field between incumbents and new players, that enhances the customer experience and which doesn’t at the same time leave the provider or customer open to new risks.”


Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) is the voice of banking and payments in Ireland representing over 70 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.

For Further Information Contact: Keira Doyle, Head of Communications, BPFI, ph: 01 474 8835 / 086 269 4460 the new home for Fraud Alerts is a new fraud awareness initiative, developed by Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) in conjunction with Allied Irish Bank plc, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, PermanentTSB and Ulster Bank.

The new website will serve as a one stop shop fraud information service for businesses and consumers alike, including case studies, top tips, advice and fraud alerts to those who want to prevent and protect themselves against fraudsters.

For the latest in fraud awareness and for all future fraud alerts, please check

Stakeholder Engagement

A BPFI delegation comprising the CEO, Director of Banking & Payments, Director of Public Affairs and Head of Capital Markets held a constructive meeting with the Minister of State for Financial Services, Michael D’Arcy TD, and Department Assistant Secretary, Gary Tobin.  Our proposal for the development of an industry ‘Innovation Hub’, enhancement of the IFS2020 strategy, key sector considerations around Brexit and tweaking of the Special Assignee Relief Programme were among the issues raised with the Minister.  He in turn referenced mortgage arrears and he welcomed the industry’s fraud awareness campaign, FraudSMART.

Our new BPFI Payments Monitor was launched by way of a briefing to an audience of stakeholders which included the Central Bank of Ireland, Fintech & Payments Association, the Dept. of Finance, Dept. of Social Protection and business group representatives as well as member banks from our Payments Advisory Group.  Compiled from unique data provided by the relevant banks, the Monitor provides a comprehensive picture of up-to-date trends across the range of payment options used by personal and business customers: from cash to card, cheque to digital, contact to contactless, paper to paperless.

Representatives from ISME, Chambers Ireland, the Economic & Social Research Institute, the Credit Review Office, the Central Bank and the Dept. of Business, Enterprise & Innovation – together with SME bank lending representatives – attended our stakeholder briefing on the latest DKM/BPFI SME Market Monitor.  With a particular focus on the implications of Brexit for the SME sector, the presentation by DKM’s Annette Hughes generated much useful discussion.

We had a strong turnout from brokers, estate agents, auctioneers & valuers, the property and construction sectors for our most recent Housing Market Monitor presentation to stakeholders.  Most of the discussion which followed the presentation by BPFI’s Chief Economist, Ali Ugur, focused on the housing supply challenge, with some consideration being given to the scope for cross-sectoral agreement on possible solutions.

Ahead of its public launch on October 9th, our FraudSMART campaign was the subject of a special presentation to a wide range of stakeholders from the consumer and business communities, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, the Office of the Financial Services Ombudsman, the Data Protection Commission, the Central Bank as well as a number of Government Departments.  Representatives from the fraud division and the public affairs division of the funding banks were also in attendance.

Council discussions resume on EC’s Risk Reduction Package

Council discussions resumed in September on the European Commission’s Risk Reduction Package Proposals. Recent discussions have centred around the IPU proposal, large exposures, Pillar 2 requirements and proportionality. BPFI continue to monitor developments and feed into discussions through engagement with policymakers nationally and in Brussels.

BPFI will be attending the International Banking Federation’s (IBFed) annual Prudential Supervision Working Group meeting in Frankfurt. BASEL 3.5 finalisation, IFRS 9 and the Commission’s Risk Reduction Package are amongst the items for discussion. There will also be a focus on Brexit negotiations and impacts and an update on potential US regulatory reform.


Ecofin agenda

Finance Ministers met informally in Tallinn in September where they exchanged views on the future EU framework around Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). The Commission is expected to present in December a package of measures and proposals aimed at finalising EMU. These  may include the transformation of the European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund and the creation of a European Minister for Economy and Finance. A special summit of Heads of State will also be convened in December to discuss the package; and by June 2018 the EU hopes to have identified key ways to move forward. Ministers also discussed technological innovations in the banking and capital markets and corporate tax and customs challenges in relation to the digital economy. On the latter, a discussion is ongoing developing among Finance Ministers (and soon Heads of State) on how to ensure corporate tax rules capture business models based on digital technology.

BPFI involved in formative process of Covered Bond Directive set for Q1 2018

The European Commission is expected to issue a draft text of its proposals for a Covered Bond Directive in Q1 2018. This will be a principle-based approach with recognition of the importance of not impacting on jurisdiction specific elements. Through direct contact with the Commission, the Department of Finance and the ECBC (European Covered Bond Council) we are involved in the formative process taking place at present and we will continue in this manner.

Non-health statutory Code of Practice for Financial Professionals

At the request of the Department of Justice & Equality the National Disability Authority (NDA)  is preparing the 11 non-health statutory Codes of Practice required under the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015. BPFI participates in the NDA’s Technical Expert Group set up to discuss and prepare these draft codes, to be completed by January 2018. The group is currently discussing the required Code for Financial Professionals and has agreed to prepare only a high-level code at this point, given the need to ensure all those considered “financial professionals” are included in scope.

BPFI submits proposals on accounting standard IFRS 9

January 1st 2018 sees mandatory application of IFRS 9, the new accounting standard for the classification and measurement of financial instruments.   These accounting changes are likely to affect banks’ regulatory capital with the introduction of the lifetime loss concept and the inclusion of forward looking information in the measurement of expected credit losses.

However there has been little guidance until recently from various supervisors on the regulatory treatment of accounting provisions under IFRS 9. In March of this year the Basel Committee released details of the interim regulatory treatment of accounting provisions and standards for transitional arrangements. It recommended to retain the current regulatory treatment of provisions under the Basel framework for an interim period but also allowed jurisdictions to adopt transitional arrangements to smooth any potential significant negative impact on regulatory capital arising from the introduction of ECL accounting.

More recently, as part of its capital requirements review (CRR), the EU Commission issued draft regulations on a five-year transitional arrangement in order to mitigate or prevent the implications of a contraction in banks’ regulatory capital following the initial implementation of IFRS 9.  The EU Parliament’s ECON Committee has approved these proposals and also voted in favour of separating the proposed regulation from the broader review of the CRR. Trilogue negotiations between the Parliament, the EU Council and the Commission commenced at the beginning of September. BPFI has provided input into both the Commission proposals as well as Parliament discussions

IFS 2020 Actions Submitted

Following input from our FIBI members we submitted our proposals for inclusion in the IFS 2020 Action Plan 2018. These are as follows:

  • Make available on a quarterly basis on official up-to-date data on Ireland’s IFS offering and economic data
  • Investigate the different offerings with regard to countries’ implementation of regulatory ‘sandboxes’ to determine if Ireland is positioned appropriately and is not placed at a regulatory competitive disadvantage
  • Review the SARP regime
  • Assess the case for amendments to the Irish Covered Bond legislation
  • Facilitate the development of an Industry Innovation Hub to support innovation and collaboration in FinTech, Payments and Banking

Supervisory Reporting Working Group

The Central Bank of Ireland’s (CBI) Supervisory Reporting team delivered a presentation at a BPFI Supervisory Reporting Working Group meeting in September.  The main purpose of the meeting was for the CBI to provide a live demonstration of changes to the Online Reporting System covering rule handling and variance analysis. They are implementing the EBA and ECB non-XBRL rules on the system for the first time from October 2017, and there are significant changes to the way returns are validated and signed off. There are also changes to the way variance analysis is handled.