Boston and Paris, 1 October 2014
Central Bank of Latvia to provide Latvian banks with enhanced STEP2 access by directly connecting to EBA CLEARING’s retail payment platform
Latvijas Banka’s direct participation in STEP2 will enable Latvian banks to provide their customers with improved service levels for payments across Europe
Latvijas Banka, the central bank of Latvia, is scheduled to connect to the euro retail payment system STEP2 as a direct participant on 8th December 2014.
As EBA CLEARING, the operator of STEP2, announced at the Sibos conference in Boston today, Latvijas Banka will facilitate the STEP2 reachability of the banks using the Latvian EKS system, a SEPA-compliant CSM for SEPA Credit Transfers. The direct connection of Latvijas Banka to STEP2 will speed up the exchange of payments between these banks and any counterparties they wish to reach through EBA CLEARING’s panEuropean platform.
“EBA CLEARING offers the only credit transfer service that ensures reachability of all credit institutions within the SEPA area. Our direct connection to the STEP2 platform will shorten the time for payment exchange between our user banks and their counterparties across Europe by one hour and thus provide an opportunity for our users to offer better service levels to their customers in terms of accepting and processing customer payments,” said Egons Gailitis, Head of Payment Systems Department, Latvijas Banka.
“Through its support of STEP2, Latvijas Banka has been key in extending pan-European reach to the Latvian community for SEPA payments. Latvijas Banka’s direct connection to the STEP2 platform will provide local banks with an enhanced access to our pan-European payment infrastructure before the end of this year, which marks the formal deadline of the SEPA migration period for Latvia,” said Gilbert Lichter, Chief Executive Officer, EBA CLEARING.
EBA CLEARING’s STEP2 system offers to the European financial industry a strong clearing infrastructure that provides full reach to all banks offering SEPA Credit Transfers and SEPA Direct Debits to their customers. In addition to the platform’s pan-European role, the migration of domestic legacy payments to SEPA has further strengthened the position of STEP2 as a payment system of first choice for domestic retail payments.
About EBA CLEARING
EBA CLEARING is a provider of pan-European payment infrastructure solutions. The Company was founded in 1998 and is owned by 62 of the major banks operating in Europe.
EBA CLEARING manages the large-value payment system EURO1 as well as STEP1, a payment service for commercial transactions.
Since 2003, EBA CLEARING has also been managing the STEP2 platform, together with SIA as technology partner.
STEP2 is a pan-European payment infrastructure for mass payments (PanEuropean Automated Clearing House – PE-ACH) providing full reach to all financial institutions across Europe processing credit transfers and direct debits in euro. More than 4,800 financial institutions in 34 countries are reachable via STEP2.
Apart from cross-border transactions, the STEP2 platform processes domestic payments for the banking communities in Estonia, Finland, Luxembourg and Ireland as well as for numerous major banks in other countries, e.g. Germany and Italy.
The STEP2 balances are settled via TARGET2.
SEPA = Single Euro Payments Area
CSM = Clearing and Settlement Mechanism