Channel Islands, IoM to join SEPA

Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are to become part of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) as of the first of May, the European Payments Council has confirmed.

Membership of SEPA allows the quick crossborder transfer of funds in euros. As members, the British Crown Dependencies will join Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Monaco and San Marino, as well as the 28 members of the European Union members.

European Payments Council chair Javier Santamaría said that, as important European financial centres, the three islands’ inclusion in the SEPA was a “natural development”.

Jersey’s assistant chief minister senator Philip Ozouf said: “As many of our largest banks have operations in more than one of the three islands, it is important that Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are joining SEPA together.”

Guernsey’s minister for commerce and employment deputy Kevin Stewart, meanwhile, said that new rules would give Guernsey-based financial institutions the right to join the SEPA direct debit and credit transfer schemes. He added: “Not all banks will necessarily wish to do so, but this provides them with the choice.”

The Association of Guernsey Banks also welcomed the news, with chairman Andy Veron saying it had been a “good example of engagement between local industry and Government”.

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