Review of 2014 Event
The Future of Cash 2014 was one of five conferences organised by EFMA as part of Retail Payments Week in September 2014. The conference was held in Paris and focused on achieving operational efficiency within cash services.
The event was attended by several central bank delegates who delivered presentations from a variety of cash cycle perspectives, along with an overview of their current initiatives to improve the efficiency of maintaining a currency against a backdrop of eurozone stagnation.
Of particular note was the Bank of France’s rationalisation strategy, which aims to reduce the number of operational cash centres from 72 to 38 by 2020 as well as modernise their existing facilities. This strategy also includes the creation of two brand new state-of-the-art facilities – one in the north of France and one in, or near, Paris.
There was also a strong presence from retail banks. In particular, thought-provoking presentations from Den Norske Bank and BDB Bankernas Depå led to open discussions from the floor on their alternative stance on cash in circulation compared to most of the rest of the Europe. This has led to the evolution of innovative ways in which Scandinavian central and retail banks are outsourcing cash management, such as integrating daily banking services with in-store cash handling mechanisms.
Jamie Martin of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank unveiled the UK’s first polymer circulation (as opposed to commemorative) note, which will be issued in March 2015 – ahead of the Bank of England’s first polymer note in 2016. Of particular interest was that, from conception to circulation, this project will have taken under two years, in comparison to an estimated industry average of four years – an excellent case study of introducing efficiencies into the cash cycle system.
The conference was well structured, often with the cash schemes from regional perspectives being compared with national perspectives, which highlighted the increasing need for cooperation between organisations at all levels of the cycle to achieve efficiencies across the whole system. This was championed in particular by Maria Colantonio of UBS, who talked delegates through the Swiss initiative to engage in cross organisation discussion along the length and breadth of the management chain in order to avoid duplication of processes and efforts for the benefit of all stakeholders.
This review was first published in Currency News