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Building societies face steep bills for new EU payment rules

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Building societies could face high compliance bills for new payment regulation coming in next year, their trade body warns.

Yesterday the Financial Conduct Authority put out a consultation on the Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), which takes effect next January.

It is designed to simplify electronic payments across Europe and aid competition with big financial institutions, among other goals.

The rules are not directly aimed at mortgage lenders but some will be covered.

For example, lenders caught under PSD2 could need to pay for software to let third party firms access their clients’ finances.

The FCA consultation on how it will implement PSD2 also lets the regulator delay acquisitions for up to 90 days to ensure PSD2 compliance.

The Building Societies Association says PSD2 compliance costs could be “onerous” for its smaller members. It also says they have little time to prepare, according to its response to a Treasury consultation on the issue in February.

A BSA spokeswoman says the “fair proportion” of building societies that offer instant access savings accounts online might be caught by PSD2 rules.

Following the FCA consultation, a BSA spokeswoman says: “We welcome the publication of the FCA’s consultation paper covering the implementation of PSD2. It is timely given the requirement under EU law for this revised payment services directive to be implemented in exactly nine months’ time – by 13 January 2018.

“There is a huge amount of detail in this 277 page document and digesting it is a priority for the coming weeks.  The BSA is member of the FCA Payment Services Stakeholder Liaison Group so we’ll be staying close throughout and of course will formally respond by June.”

A CML spokesman said PSD2 was unlikely to affect its members and that the trade body had not responded to the Treasury or FCA consultation.

Payments UK says there is a chance the new rules could be affected by Brexit.

A Payments UK statement on the issue says: “Much of UK financial regulation is derived from EU legislation and existing and incoming regulation including PSD2 will remain applicable until any changes are made, which will be a matter for Government and Parliament.”

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