Paris, 7 October 2005

Luxembourg’s banks to move national retail transfers to EBA CLEARING’S STEP2 Platform

The Luxembourgish banks announced today their decision to migrate their national retail transfers to EBA CLEARING’s pan-European STEP2 platform.

Through this migration, the banks in Luxembourg will use one single platform for handling both their national and European credit transfers. The migration of the Luxembourg domestic transfers is expected to be completed by September 2006.

STEP2, EBA CLEARING's pan-European ACH, has successfully cleared euro credit transfers among banks across Europe since April 2003. EBA CLEARING has as well finalised an agreement with the major Italian banks for processing their domestic transfers on the STEP2 platform.

“The migration of the domestic transfers of Italy and of Luxembourg are the first steps of a wider migration of euro payments traffic from the old national infrastructures to a pan-European infrastructure,” points out José Beltran, Director STEP2 Services in EBA CLEARING. 

Serge Wagener, Head of Payments Department at Banque et Caisse d’Epargne de l’Etat and Vice-Chairman of SYPAL, states: “The early adoption of pan-European standards such as IBAN and BIC at the domestic level enables the Luxembourgish banks to save considerable costs and take a good step forward in implementing a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA)”.

“The current implementation of SEPA is the logical consequence of the creation of a Single Market and a Single Currency in the EU. For the banks, SEPA represents an important challenge to offer new European payment instruments to their customers”, says Gilbert Lichter, CEO of EBA CLEARING. He adds: “Our pan-European payment infrastructure, STEP2, is based on the latest technology and standards and enables banks to deliver high-quality payment services to their customers across Europe.” 

EBA CLEARING is as well conducting discussions on functionalities with the Finnish banks and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Spanish banking community in March with a view to studying the feasibility of the use of the STEP2 pan-European ACH platform by the banks in Spain for processing their national retail payments.

Press Contacts:

Daniel Szmukler, Tel: +33 1 53 67 07 12 (

Annick Moes, Tel: +49 69 75 61 49 20 (

Note to Editors:

STEP2 is the first pan-European clearing system for bulk payments in euro. The system is operated by EBA CLEARING ( and processes retail payments of up to 12,500 euro (50,000 euro as from January 2006) per transaction. Following the requirements of EC Regulation 2560/2001, each payment instruction needs to bear, among others, the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) of the beneficiary and the Bank Identifier Code (BIC) of the beneficiary's bank in order to comply with STEP2's straight-through processing (STP) criteria

Currently, 89 direct participants and more than 1,500 indirect participants send on average 185,000 transactions per day through the system. Capable of executing Regulation-compliant cross-border and domestic credit transfers at low cost, STEP2 is of vital importance to the European banking industry in its progressive migration towards the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). STEP2 was implemented in cooperation with SIA S.p.A. as a technology partner and SWIFT as a messaging partner.