Utrecht, 9 June 2023 – The European Association of Co-operative Banks (EACB) held its 50th General Assembly (GA) meeting at Rabobank’s headquarters in Utrecht. The gathering featured several interactive sessions with reputable guests on strategically important developments for cooperative banks such as the European payments initiatives and anti-money laundering action plan. Furthermore, members of the GA bid farewell to longstanding member of the EACB General Assembly Andreas Pangl.
The fight against Money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing is high on the political and societal agenda. Indeed, Europol estimated that around 1% of the EU's annual Gross Domestic Product is involved in suspect financial activity. With their 227 million customers, cooperative banks are very aware of the role they can play in this fight and take their responsibilities seriously.
During a fireside chat session moderated by Nina Schindler, Chief Executive Officer of the EACB, Paul Tang, Member of the European Parliament, and Philippe Vollot, Chief Financial Economic Crime Officer at Rabobank, shared their views on the AML package and the role of the financial sector and other sectors, players and authorities in this context.
Paul Tang stated “Financial crime is a constantly evolving challenge, necessitating an adequate and future-proof legislative framework. I was keen to discuss together with Rabobank's Philippe Vollot the ambitious but necessary proposals of the European Parliament's for enhanced cooperation among FIUs, improved access to beneficial ownership registers and better disclosure of high-value goods.” Philippe Vollot added that “The proposed EU AML Package will provide a significant contribution to the fight against Financial Economic Crime. With a standardised high-quality framework (e.g. EU AML Package), cooperation between the public and private actors within the end-to-end value chain will be a key-factor to success. It has been my pleasure to participate in this interesting and high quality EACB initiative”.
Another crucial item on the GA’s agenda had to do with payments and the fact that Europe’s market for payment services is at the eve of important changes. A panel discussion was held to discuss the latest developments for cooperative banks handing the floor to the senior payment executives of EACB member organisations Marie-Anne Livi, member of the Executive Committee of Credit Agricole Payment Service and ERPB member for the EACB, Ulrich Coenen, Co-CEO of Atruvia AG and Michiel Kwaaitaal, Tribe Lead Payments at Rabobank.
Nina Schindler, moderating the debate said: “With regulatory proposals like digital euro, open finance, digital identity, PSD3, instant payment regulation being put forward on the one hand, the important progress made by the European Payment Initiative on the other, and the European Payments Councils work on a Payment Account Access Scheme ongoing, the payment services ecosystem will become even more complex and cooperative banks need to decide where they want to be. The exchange between these three high level practitioners showed the strong commitment of cooperative banks to support the sovereignty objectives of the Retail Payment Strategy. It also showed a preference for the private sector to be allowed to maintain the initiative in this context with regulators creating an enabling legal framework.”