PRESS RELEASE

Release of the TARGET general information brochure and of the TARGET service level document

1 July 1998

Today the European Central Bank (ECB) published two new documents on the TARGET system. On this occasion, the ECB has also dedicated a special section of its Web site, which can be accessed at http://www.ecb.europa.eu, to TARGET. The intention is to make the latest information available on a regular basis via the Internet.

The first document, the "TARGET brochure" (July 1998), provides general information about the TARGET system in all eleven official EU languages. It can be obtained from the national central banks and is also accessible via the Internet. The second document, "The TARGET service level" (July 1998), provides the European banking community with a description of the service level to be offered to TARGET customers and details of the requirements set for participants.

TARGET will be an important system for large-value payments in euro and it will set a benchmark in speed by reducing the processing times for cross-border payments to a couple of minutes, and in some cases to only a few seconds. As the system also provides intraday finality, market participants should consider using TARGET for all their large-value payments, especially those related to money market and foreign exchange market operations. This would help banks in their liquidity management and make a substantial contribution to reducing systemic risks throughout the European Union.

Even though TARGET is mainly intended for large-value payments, there will be no limitations on value. This will also enable credit institutions with only a limited number of smaller cross-border payments to use TARGET for their entire cross-border euro payment business. Thus, even smaller institutions will be able to offer their customers an excellent cross-border payment service without having to rely on the services of a competitor.

Almost all EU credit institutions will be accessible via TARGET as the system will have more than 5,000 RTGS participants. In addition, the TARGET system will have extensive operating times. The system will be available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Frankfurt time, with a cut-off time for customer payments at 5 p.m. TARGET will only close on the two public holidays that are common to all EU countries: Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Although the introduction of additional closing days due to national holidays was envisaged, no national RTGS system is expected to make use of this possibility. The ECB will publish the final calendar of TARGET operating days for 1999 in September 1998 at the latest.

Copies of these publications will be distributed by each of the EU central banks to interested parties in their respective countries. They will also be available from the ECB at the following address:

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