LONDON, MILAN and ROME, March 30, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Italian infrastructure for clearing and settlement of retail payments (Clearing and Settlement Mechanism - CSM) ICBPI/BI-COMP, operated by Banca d'Italia and Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari Italiane (ICBPI), and the international payments specialist VocaLink today announced that they are collaborating to establish a link for the exchange of SEPA payments based on the European Automated Clearing House Association (EACHA) interoperability standards. The customers of the two CSMs will thus be able to count on a fast, cost-effective and reliable way of achieving mutual reach, with no need for participation in the reachable CSM.
The provision of reciprocal interconnection services between the CSMs managed by VocaLink and ICBPI/Banca d'Italia, allowing them to mutually exchange (and settle in TARGET2) SEPA compliant payments on behalf of their respective banking communities, will contribute to the SEPA aim of developing a fully integrated and competitive retail market with no differences between national and cross-border payments.
VocaLink and ICBPI/Banca d'Italia plan to enable their customers to execute SEPA Credit Transfers already in the course of Q2 2010. Afterwards the CSMs will start assessing the extension of the interoperability to the SDDs as well.
Franco Passacantando, Managing Director for Central banking, markets and payment system Area at Banca d'Italia, says: The planned interoperability of the Italian clearing system with the UK's VocaLink Euro CSM represents a further initiative taken by Banca d'Italia to fully support the SEPA, also by means of direct provision of services. It is a necessary step towards the integration of the single European market for retail payments.
Giuseppe Capponcelli, General Manager at ICBPI, comments: SEPA brings unique challenges for European banks and corporates. ICBPI's involvement in an interoperability arrangement with VocaLink will allow us to provide additional services to banks working with either party.
Giacinto Cosenza, Italian Country Manager at VocaLink, adds: We are delighted to be working with the Italian infrastructures in this strategically important market. This is a major milestone on the path to deliver VocaLink's SEPA solutions to the Italian market while further growing our CSM reach in continental Europe.
About Banca d'Italia
Banca d'Italia, the central bank of the Republic of Italy, manages the multilateral clearing and settlement component (BI-COMP) of the Italian retail payment system, which enables settlement in central bank money of euro payments made by means of paper or electronic instruments. Entities acting in free competition and in compliance with Banca d'Italia provisions on this matter, among which ICBPI, carry out the activities preparatory to clearing payments handled via electronic procedures. The transactions settled in 2008 by means of BI-COMP amounted to over 2 billion in volume, for a total value of EUR3,440 billion, equal to 2.2 times the Italian GDP.
To foster the integration of the single market for retail payments in euro, BI-COMP handles SEPA Credit Transfers following the launch of the SEPA and, from November 2nd, 2009, SEPA Direct Debits (both Core and B2B). To enable its community to exchange SEPA payments with participants in other systems, the ICBPI/BI-COMP CSM has been made interoperable with other CSMs at cross-border level (currently Equens and STEP.AT) according to the EACHA model; moreover Banca d'Italia offers an intermediation service to exchange SEPA payments with participants in the STEP2 system managed by EBA-Clearing.
ICBPI GROUP is composed of highly experienced companies specialising in the design, planning and management of services for banks, financial institutions and insurance companies. In their respective areas of operation, the companies in the Group are able to support clients in achieving growth and a competitive market approach.
The main company of the group: ICBPI, is a bank for banks offering to the banking system both domestic and international, SEPA compliant payment services and systems, and accounting and financial services under a business processing outsourcing model. Through other ICBPI Group companies, ICBPI is market leader in a score of sectors: monetics, payments, bank-to-corporate services, financial dashboard and data synthesis systems; monitor and alert systems to supervision authorities, anti-money laundering, pension funds managing, and compliance systems.
ICBPI holds together with its strategic partner ICCREA BANCA 45% of domestic market in the Automated Clearing House services, is part of EACHA (interoperable ACH at EU level) and supplies 33 direct and 428 indirect partners with the SCT service. As for payments, ICBPI processes over 62 million cheques and bank drafts as well as pension payments from the Italian National Social Security Institute in Italy and abroad. Within CBI Consortium services it is a leading Institute in the Delegated Technical Structure services with more than 170,000 active businesses and over 80 Access Point Provider Banks.
VocaLink is a specialist payments partner to banks, their corporate customers and government departments, designing and delivering smarter domestic and international automated euro payments systems as well as smarter ATM switching solutions.
VocaLink's switching platform connects over 60,000 ATMs, the world's busiest network, while VocaLink's payments platform processes over 500 million payments per month.
Having pioneered electronic payments for over 40 years, many major organisations at international level have come to rely on VocaLink services. For example, VocaLink runs Real-time Payments Platform, the central infrastructure for the UK's Faster Payments Service, and is now the outsourcee of the majority of Sweden's domestic payments thanks to its partnership with BGC, Sweden's leading payments provider.
As for the service delivery, VocaLink's platforms operate on never-fail technology to ensure total reliability and availability 24 hours a day to meet customer needs.
In short, VocaLink smarter payments capabilities offer banks, corporates and government departments reach throughout SEPA and beyond.
CONTACT: PR contact: Deborah Souter, Corporate communications manager,VocaLink, Drake House,Homestead Road, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1FX, United Kingdom,+44(0)8709208651, http://www.vocalink.com/, Confirmation email address:firstname.lastname@example.org