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Interview: Cedric Derras, Global Head of Cash Management at UniCredit Corporate and Investment Banking


Lauren Jones, InstaPay’s Editor interviews Cedric Derras, Global Head of Cash Management at UniCredit on the adoption of instant payments and the considerations that banks need to make.

UniCredit was one of the first banks in Italy to adopt instant payments and has been connected to EBA Clearing’s RT1 platform since November 2017. Why was it important to UniCredit to be one of the first movers?   

UniCredit decided to be amongst frontrunners, going live both in Germany and in Italy since the very beginning, because we firmly believe instant payments will play a prominent role in the payments landscape of the future.

When banks are looking at getting ready for instant payments what are the different areas of focus they have to deal with?

The successful story of instant payments is in design of a fully digital and intuitive customer experience, the implementation of a smart application to manage payments and liquidity 24/7/365, an accurate integration with the overall IT system.

Implementation of instant payments has been slow in Italy. What will lack of participation mean for ubiquity and customer experience in Italy?

Considering that the reachability within the EU level is in the initial phase, the ability to offer customers best of breed products is in the hands of each single bank. In Italy, although the number of banks adopting instant payment is small, the existing offer already allows a wide coverage of the market.

Given there is no mandate in Italy to join the domestic system, Italian banks have a choice which CSM they can join. What factors need to be considered when making this choice?

It goes without saying that the main goals Banks/PSPs ask to a CSM are simplification and reliability. In a dynamic payment ecosystem the ability of a CSM in keeping an effective and timely dialogue with its users matters a lot.

How are corporate customers seeing the opportunity that instant payments can bring in the Italian market?

There are some first movers willing to take advantage of the new opportunities, especially in the SME segment. But clearly regarding mid-cap market and big Corporates, the increasing of the threshold of 15,000eur per transaction will make instant payment more attractive for corporate’s treasurers.

Retail banking is notoriously domestically orientated and culturally dependent. As a bank that operates in different markets across Europe how important are these cultural differences when building a business case?

We used to say “think global, act local” exactly for the cultural environment where payments come from and evolve. Business cases, as well as use cases, are highly influenced by local practices.


Author: Kate Nelson