Published: 20.09.2018

Today the Council of Latvijas Banka has adopted several legal acts, thus expanding the range of IBAN Register users.

The Council of Latvijas Banka has adopted the "Procedure for Using the IBAN Register of Latvijas Banka", as well as made amendments to the "Participation Procedure in Latvijas Banka's Electronic Clearing System" and the Procedure "On the Regulation for Servicing of Customer Accounts of Latvijas Banka". Amendments to the legal acts will take effect on 18 November 2018.

The IBAN Register of Latvijas Banka enables institutions to offer an easy initiation of instant payments to their customers by using the payee's mobile phone number. The IBAN Register ensures the storage of the customer account IBAN numbers (International Bank Account Number is an international bank account number assigned by an institution to customer accounts) links with the mobile phone numbers. The IBAN Register was established as part of the EKS, the Electronic Clearing System of Latvijas Banka.

Amendments to the legal acts have been drawn up to support the development of instant payments and make them available to all Latvian households and businesses. When expanding the range of IBAN Register users, it may be used not only by the users of the EKS instant payments service, but also by the largest Latvian credit institutions which are not the users of the EKS instant payments service, other credit institutions and the national central banks of the Member States of the European Union reachable in the EKS instant payments service via other payment systems (e.g. RT1 system).

Latvijas Banka organises and maintains the payment infrastructure in Latvia, including two fully automated payment systems helping to ensure interbank settlements in euro. TARGET2-Latvija is an interbank euro payment system falling within the Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement Express Transfer System TARGET2. The EKS is used for the processing of retail payments.

As a further step in the development of the existing payment infrastructure, an instant payments service was introduced in the EKS at the end of August 2017, providing a significant stimulus for development of innovative payment instruments in Latvia.

Since November 2017, the customers of "Citadele" and "SEB banka" have already benefited from the advantages of instant payments by making both mutual transfers and transfers to several euro area banks. At this point in time, the majority of customer payments in euro between the two commercial banks are already made via the so-called instant payments channel, i.e. they are executed instantly 24/7/365. During this period, more than 1.2 million instant payments have been processed in Latvijas Banka's system, with positive feedback received from both technology experts and bank customers. With regard to the introduction of instant payments, Latvia is the leading euro area country and is also well ahead of its neighbouring countries.

In the coming months, the number of the commercial banks providing the instant payments to their customers is expected to rise and the vast majority of the mutual payments between individuals and companies in Latvia will be made based on this infrastructure, i.e. they will be executed instantly and at any time. This will significantly save consumers' time and provide various opportunities for better management of their funds.

For reference

Latvijas Banka is the central bank of Latvia an independent institution and a member of the Eurosystem. The primary objective of Latvijas Banka is the same as that of the central banks of other euro area countries and the European Central Bank: price stability (inflation rates below, but close to, 2% over the medium term). This is an essential precondition for a strong and growth-oriented economy. To achieve that, Latvijas Banka participates in the formulation of the Eurosystem's monetary policy, related decision-making and implementation.

Latvijas Banka promotes analysis and research of macroeconomic and financial issues, thereby laying a secure foundation for professional activities in these areas. The role of the industry expert helps Latvijas Banka raise public awareness of the development of the economy and the monetary system, the current situation and the economic policy being pursued. Latvijas Banka takes an active part in educating the general public on various economic topics.

Latvijas Banka, acting in the public and economic interest, carries out several tasks significant for each and every inhabitant, financial markets and the public at large:

participates in the formulation and implementation of the euro area's monetary policy;
issues cash in Latvia and participates in ensuring the cash circulation process in the euro area;
discharges the function of the central national currency authentication centre;
maintains the interbank payment systems' infrastructure (including the infrastructure for instant payments);
manages the foreign reserves and other financial investments;
acts as the financial agent of Latvia's government and provides financial services to other market participants;
compiles and publishes financial, monetary statistics and balance of payments statistics;
maintains and develops the Credit Register;
acts as an advisor to the Parliament and Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia on monetary policy issues and other issues related to Latvijas Banka's operation.