P27 and coronavirus: Q&A with CEO Lars Sjögren

As businesses in Nordics and the rest of the world grapple with the effects of the coronavirus, P27’s CEO Lars Sjögren (LS) shares his thoughts on the pandemic’s impact on the payments industry and daily life at P27. 

Q: What measures has P27 implemented in response to the pandemic?

LS: We’ve had a work from home policy since early March. Besides working from home, we’ve also stopped traveling. And like everyone else, we’re conducting more meetings digitally. In addition, we’re trying to help employees still feel connected when working from home. One way is by holding weekly webinars to provide inspiration and competence development. We also sent employees care packages of sweets – including Danish liquorice – which everyone seemed to appreciate.

Q: How are these measures affecting P27’s overall planning operations?

LS: So far, the effects have been minimal. As a fintech startup, we’ve always had a digital-first way of working. We’re organized into Nordic cross-border teams, so employees are used to collaborating at a distance. Except now they’re doing it from home instead of from our offices in Stockholm, Copenhagen, or Helsinki.

Q: Do you expect the COVID-19 crisis to have a lasting impact on P27 or the Nordic harmonization behind it?

LS: This situation is so unprecedented, it’s impossible to say how corona might impact Nordic cooperation. Each country is dealing with corona in slightly different ways and they have every right to do so. Regardless, COVID-19 doesn’t change the arguments for creating P27 in the first place: connecting Nordic countries’ payments infrastructure to make payments more efficient and secure.

At this point I don’t see the corona crisis having an impact on P27’s timetable for potentially launching in the first half of 2021 if we have the necessary regulatory approvals. The official launch of P27 services is subject to regulatory approvals and therefore P27 will not conduct any business activities until required regulatory approvals are obtained.

Q: How do you see the ongoing crisis affecting the payments market?

LS: It’s hard to be certain about any predictions at this point. But it appears that the coronavirus crisis is accelerating some ongoing trends related to digitalization. With everyone stuck at home, online retail is exploding. Demand for real-time, digital payments is rising. And the economic downturn that will certainly follow will only increase demand for payments efficiency and reliability.