BANK OF ALBANIA
Sixth Meeting of the National Payment Systems Committee
Publication date: 17.12.2020
On 17 December 2020, the National Payment Systems Committee (NPSC) held its sixth meeting, chaired by Ms Luljeta Minxhozi, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Albania. This meeting was held virtually, due to the situation caused by Covid-19. In addition to NPSC members, like the Chair of the Albanian Association of Banks (AAB) and the Chair of the AAB's Payments Committee, the meeting was attended by NPSC members, representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Interior of Albania, the Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority, the National Agency for Information Society (NAIS), other market stakeholders, etc. In addition, representatives from the World Bank, SWIFT, TIETO Company and CBI S.c.p.a attended this event, to support the topics discussed during the meeting.
In her opening address, the Chair the National Payment Systems Committee (NPSC), Ms Minxhozi, thanked the member institutions for the continuous efforts and achievements, as well as the participants in this meeting, who through their presentations help to fulfilling the NPSC objectives. In addition, Ms Minxhozi provided a summary of the so far achievements and emphasised the importance that National Retail Payments Strategy has nationally and in the framework of the Albanian integration process in the EU. The Chair highlighted the need for the implementation of the Law “On payment services” as one of the main measures and achievements of the strategy. Also, the First Deputy Governor pointed out that the establishment and improvement of infrastructures, like Instant Payment and cards processing, and the promotion of the financial education are a crucial mechanism to achieve the objectives for enhancing the financial inclusion of population and the expansion of the use the electronic payment instruments.
In the framework of the common objectives of the participating institutions, approved in the National Retail Payments Strategy (2018-2023), the sixth meeting started with the presentation by Ms Ledia Bregu, Head of Payment Systems, Accounting and Finance Department at the Bank of Albania. Ms Bregu focused on the so far achievements, the priorities for the next period and the needs to review some terms for the purposes of measures for establishing the required space to provide for their realisation.
Next, as one of the crucial initiatives of this strategy, it was discussed the implementation of the Law 55/2020, dated 30.04.2020 “On payment services” and the drafting of the bylaws for its implementation, by the Supervision Department of the Bank of Albania.
The sixth meeting of the NPSC continued with the presentations by the participants sharing their experiences in the framework of the law implementation. For this purpose, the representatives from SWIFT presented the services supplied by this company, broadly used by the Albanian banking market, related to the needs for communication of banks and non-bank institutions for Open Banking Application Programme Interface (API). Also, TIETO and “CBI S.c.p.a” in their presentations provided their point of view as services provider and operator of an interbank API, respectively, on the establishment of a joint infrastructure by the institutions aiming at fulfilling the needs for the implementation of the Law and the minimisation of investment costs.
In this meeting, particular attention was paid to the initiative for the development of electronic trading in Albania. Based on an Order by the Prime Minister, it was established the Working Group “On the drafting of the action plan for promoting the electronic trading”. The Chair of this Working Group, Ms Arjana Dyrmishi, presented the participants with the objectives of the Working Group and their interconnection with the objectives of the Strategy.
In supporting these initiatives, representatives from the World Bank and SWIFT delivered their presentations related to Instant payment, as one of the needed and projected infrastructural developments in the action plans. Also, in the context of the discussion on the payment costs via cards, PAYLINK operator delivered a presentation on the benefit that the Albanian market may have from the existence of an infrastructure which processes cards internally (National SWITCH).
Then, like in the previous meetings, attention was paid to financial education, as a rather important mechanism to maximise the effects of measures undertaken in the framework of innovation and promotion of digital financial instruments, through a set of presentation by the Bank of Albania, AFSA an AAB.
In addition, the issues being discussed were focused on the measures undertaken by the Bank of Albania related to the “Operationalisation of the non-bank financial institutions participation in AECH system. This initiative is assessed to considerably support the interaction of market stakeholders, and to establish the required condition to minimise the interdependence relationship of non-bank financial institutions for their membership in the payment systems. In the context of these measures, the SWIFT representative delivered a remarkable presentation on the services supplied by this company related to this category of participants.
Finally, the meeting discussed the measures undertaken to deal with the mobility restrictions implemented due to COVID-19 pandemic, which indirectly supported and promoted the use of electronic payments in Albania. In this regard, particular attention was paid to the developments undertaken by NAIS, over this period, and the problems being faced with. Ms Nevila Repishti, Director of e-Albania Government Portal, informed participants about the measures taken aiming at digitalising the government services, focusing on payments and the needs for further collaboration with commercial banks.
At the conclusion, based on the discussions that took place in this meeting, the Chair of the Committee recommended to establish some Working Groups with the NPSC members, aiming at concrete addressing the issues discussed in this meeting, those related to financial education and card payments, in terms of both reduction of costs held by traders and their processing.