PRESS RELEASE

Towards an integrated infrastructure for credit transfers in euro

22 November 2001

The European Central Bank (ECB) has prepared and published via its Website (http://www.ecb.europa.eu) a report entitled "Towards an integrated infrastructure for credit transfers in euro" [pdf 437 kB].

This publication was produced in response to a request of the ECOFIN Council, which, at its informal meeting in Liège on 22 September 2001, invited the ECB to elaborate on a realistic and concrete agenda for the implementation of modern payment systems infrastructures for credit transfers that lead to lower charges.

The report reviews ways to remove obstacles that are at the origin of the high costs of retail cross-border credit transfers and provides an overview of measures which the Eurosystem considers necessary to improve the payment infrastructures in the euro area.

It covers not only the interbank infrastructures such as funds transfer systems, but also the standards without which infrastructures would not be able to operate. In the view of the Eurosystem, significant improvements in banks' costs can be achieved within a reasonable time frame.This requires that banks take decisions establishing the framework for an efficient infrastructure very soon, i.e. in the course of 2002.

Certain accompanying measures aimed at enhancing transparency and competition would also seem indispensable. Given the need to bring prices of cross-border credit transfers to the level of domestic ones, this report suggests a "road map" to which the banking sector should commit in order to achieve this goal on a sound economic basis by the end of 2004. The Eurosystem stands ready to hold discussions with and assist the banks.

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