Paris, 5 June 2007

EBA CLEARING And SIA-SSB Agree on a shared platform for SEPA Payments

Sharing the same technology infrastructure for processing payments will deliver considerable economies of scale and full distribution capability to all European counterparts within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)

The rollout of SEPA in 2008 will make it possible for banks and their customers to execute payments with the same convenience and service levels throughout Europe as done today domestically

Reduction in cost and in the organizational complexity resulting from the period of duality in which new SEPA instruments will coexist alongside the current domestic instruments

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Rome, 5th June 2007 - On the basis of the agreement, SIA-SSB will be in a position to offer the banks in Italy SEPA Credit Transfers and SEPA Direct Debits processing services using the technical platform of EBA CLEARING’s PEACH, STEP2.

The collaboration with EBA CLEARING will guarantee banks a SEPA compliant service and full distribution capability to all European counterparts within SEPA. The Shared Platform approach will facilitate the Italian banks’ migration to SEPA, allowing them to maintain access to the two settlement systems, - BI-COMP operated by the Bank of Italy and EURO1 operated by EBA CLEARING, - and minimizing the cost and organizational complexity resulting from the period of duality during which the new SEPA instruments will coexist alongside the current domestic instruments.

The Shared Platform approach allows for significant economies of scale and more efficient service levels to end-customers, both at the launch of the service and, thereafter, when evolving the service in line with EPC requirements. The aim of the collaboration with EBA Clearing is to establish through STEP2 platform full reachability of all players in SEPA. In this way, it will be possible to reach the 9,000 plus banks present in 31 European countries (the EU States plus Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), serving a total population of 504 million inhabitants and 25 million companies.

The shared platform can be reached through two networks, SIANet or SWIFTNet.

“The partnership with EBA CLEARING further strengthens the strategy of the SIA-SSB Group towards SEPA – declared Renzo Vanetti, CEO of SIA-SSB – The new Group has reached an important dimension in Europe that allows us to have a leading role and, thanks to this partnership, to support the Italian banks in the path of deep transformation generated by SEPA”.

Gilbert Lichter, CEO of EBA CLEARING said: “We see the cooperation with SIA-SSB on implementing our Shared Platform concept as a showcase for bank communities that want to take advantage of our platform for procuring SEPA services rather than developing and maintaining at high cost an own, new SEPA-compliant infrastructure.”

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