The EBA Clearing Company says another six banks joined the STEP2 system as Direct Participants at the beginning of July.
Furthermore, two banks from the United Kingdom, Royal Bank of Scotland and National Westminster Bank, intend to join STEP2 as Direct Participants before the end of July.
EBA says the number of Direct Participants has increased continuously since the launch of STEP2 as the first pan-European Automated Clearing House (PE-ACH) in April 2003. With the six new banks included, the system now services a total of 65 Direct Participants and more than 1,200 Indirect Participants. EBA CLEARING expects to have 90 Direct Participants on the STEP2 platform by the end of this year.
Currently, the STEP2 system processes an average 100,000 payments per day. STEP2 is now widely recognised as the Pan-European Automated Clearing House (PE-ACH) since it is able to provide for payment distribution to all banks operating in the EU15.
The EBA CLEARING Company was established in May 1998 by 52 banks to own and operate the EURO1 large-value payment system and, thereafter, the STEP1 low-value payment system. EURO1 and STEP1 provide a payments infrastructure for the banks in Europe handling large-value cross-border payments. EURO1 and STEP1 are based on the messaging infrastructure and computing facilities provided by SWIFT. EURO1 settles at the end of the day via a settlement account at the European Central Bank. The average number of daily transactions processed by the EURO1 and STEP1 systems today amounts to over 175,000 for a total value in excess of EUR 180 billion. Today, EURO1 comprises 71 direct bank participants and 45 indirect participants; STEP1 includes over 118 participants. Since April 2003, EBA Clearing has been managing and operating its newest service – STEP2, a pan-European ACH-service for mass payments in euro, tailored to the banks’ requirements for processing EC Regulation-compliant transfers in the Single Euro Payments Area.