Paris, 6 November 2006

Banca d’italia and BPU go live on STEP2 Platform

EBA CLEARING announced today that Banca d’Italia has joined the STEP2 platform. The central bank of Italy was connected to EBA CLEARING’s pan-European ACH (PE-ACH) this morning and is now able to exchange mass payments in euro with financial institutions from 28 European countries via the STEP2 system.

“EBA CLEARING is pleased to welcome Banca d’Italia to STEP2,” said Gilbert Lichter, CEO of EBA CLEARING. “We see their connection to our PE-ACH as part of a broader evolution towards SEPA that is currently taking place throughout Europe.”

The connection of Banca d’Italia deepens the coverage of STEP2 across Italy, where the payment system now counts 23 Direct Participants and 221 Indirect Participants. Besides Banca d’Italia, STEP2 welcomed Banche Popolari Unite Scpa (BPU) as another new Direct Participant to its system today.

STEP2 currently counts 107 direct participants of which seven are central bank institutions. The system presently processes Credeuro payments in line with EC Regulation 2560/2001. From December 2006 on, STEP2 will also handle the national credit transfer flows of eight major Italian banks. In order to support the processing of domestic payments, EBA CLEARING has enhanced the platform with a set of generic domestic features, which will form the basis of its future SEPA Credit Transfer Service. STEP2 will provide a single channel offering to banks wishing to use one processing gateway for handling both their SEPA payments and their non SEPA-compliant credit transfers in euro.