EUF and FCI co-hosted successfully the 7th Annual EU Factoring Summit this past week in Rome, Italy. Ms Françoise Palle Guillabert opened the summit, where she congratulated Mr Fausto Galmarini for being elected as the new EUF Chairman, then spoke about the work EUF has done tirelessly during these challenging times to monitor, review and seek appropriate business support. Mr Giovanni Sabatini, General Manager of ABI, the Italian Banking Association, welcomed attendees both online and in-person to Rome. Mr Sabatini reflected on the impact of the banking industry over the past two years, not only from the perspective of Covid-19 but also the Ukrainian Crisis including the latest developments and challenges faced.
Mr Sabatini stated: “In this difficult scenario (Covid 19), Italian banks were able to strengthen their resiliency, increase their capital and liquidity buffers, improve their asset quality and their efficiency, and prepare for the digital transformations. Today, capital banks have the capitalisation levels in line with the European averages with a CET of 1 ratio, around 15.2%, liquidity ratio well above average requirements, improved operational efficiency and an NPL ratio of proficiency standing at 2%.”
Next, Ms Magdalena Barczak, EUF’s Chairman of the Economic and Statistics Committee presented “The Factoring Industry in Europe in 2021” with preliminary Statistics and Figures. Afterwords, Mr Fausto Galmarini, Chairman of Assifact Italy presented an update on Factoring in Italy. He highlighted that in 2021 the turnover reached the amount of 250,6 billion euro (+10% y/y), 79% non recourse, thanks to the strong recovery of the Italian economy since the fall 2020. In the worst period of the pandemic, factoring transactions were more resilient than banks’ invoice discounting and other self-liquidating transactions. Furthermore, he showed that 31.626 Italian enterprises are utilising factoring, 64% of which are SMEs, with overall advances of 51 billion euro. In closing he reflected on the Ukrainian crisis and its negative effect on the real economy, due to the lack of raw materials and high cost of energy, and on the new definition of default introduced by the E.B.A.that has a significant impact on factoring business considering the late payment as a default.
After a coffee break, Mr Pietro Penza, Partner and Head of Risk Consulting & Financial Services at PWC Italy presented on “Non-Banking Lending and new Financial Players in the EU”. Attendees learned from his valuable insights as he touched on the definition of non-bank lending, bank lending in Europe, the case of Italy and the new players & regulations in Europe especially relating to fintechs and big-tech.
The delegates also heard from the European Commission, where Ms Antonella Correra, Senior Policy Officer, shared information and updates on the Late Payment Directive. She dove into the steps to improving payment performance in the EU including1. Study: Building responsible payment culture, 2. EU Observatory payments in commercial transactions, and 3. Pilot project: ADR/Mediation to solve payment disputes. Participants got the chance to pose questions to Ms Correra, where she eloquently answered some hard-hitting questions from the audience.
Delegates then heard from EUF’s Mr Diego Tavecchia, Chairman of the PRC Committee and Ms Magdalena Wessel, Chairman of the Legal Committee, where they discussed “What kept us awake at night in 2021” with Reports from both committees, focussing on inter alia developments in the areas of supervisory harmonisation, late payments and default as well as the EU-wide implementation of Basel III including credit insurance as credit risk mitigation techniques.
Finally, the afternoon plenary ended with a short presentation from the Gold Sponsor, CODIX, where Mr Laurent Tabouelle shared information on the CODIX system and what it can do for its users.
Day 2 started with a presentation from Mr Louis-Marie Durand, Director at Euralia, where he discussed The Digital Finance Agenda of The EU Commission, focussing on two main points; Understanding the EU political and regulatory agenda in digital finance and whether the EU framework is still adapted to upcoming challenges, highlighting an upcoming EU legislative proposal for factoring. Following this, attendees got a Presentation on Digitisation: Technology and Fintech developments in Norway from Mr Eskil Myrmo, BRA Bank. Mr Myrmo shared valuable insights into the region and its developments, highlighting Digitalisation, Credit risk, Data, API’s and ERP systems.
The late morning plenary session started with a Panel Discussion on the Definition of Default Regulations where panellists Ms Françoise Palle-Guillabert, Ms Gaia Cioci, Senior Director at CRIF in Italy, Mr Vitor Graça, Secretary General at ALF in Portugal and moderator Mr Diego Tavecchia discussed the implications and actions of the new regulations. Following this, Mr Pablo Mansilla, Legal Adviser at the Spanish Factoring Association shared a close-up of the utilisation of new technologies in the Supply Chain Finance Sector and highlighted the association's work. Participants then heard from Ms Magdalena Wessel, Chairwoman of the Legal Committee, and she shared insights from the EUF Legal Study. Finally, the day ended with a Q&A session and the closing remarks by FCI Chairwoman Ms Daniela Bonzanini. She thanked all participants & sponsors and then spoke about the highlights over the past two days and the new 5-year plan of the FCI Executive Committee.
Ms Bonzanini stated: “The conference updated us on many important changes in the European factoring industry. I was pleased to see another strong year of growth for the EU factoring market, growing 10% YOY, back to a growth after 2020 decrease. Since we last met physically in 2019 in Portugal, a lot has changed. Digitalization has become central due to the lock-downs. Today as you could hear earlier, the EU Commission has a digital finance agenda, new developments are done for trade finance in this field. We can feel that the virus accelerated the change that was already in the initiative from 2019 for the EU and now that the situation is getting better, digitalisation will remain in the centre of many projects into the future.”
Following feedback from the attendees, this was one of the best events in the history of the EU Factoring Summit. The audience found the content highly insightful and valuable and thought the networking was plentiful. EUF and FCI would like to thank all who participated in this year’s event and look forward to seeing you at the next one; and to those who did not attend, do make sure you join us next time.