Published: 10.12.2014

On 9 December 2014, Latvijas Banka started to provide the direct connection of Latvijas Banka's electronic clearing system (EKS) to the STEP2 interbank payment system maintained by EBA Clearing to further develop interbank payment systems.

The STEP2 system maintained by EBA Clearing is the only retail payment system providing reachability of all European Union credit institutions in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

Latvijas Banka has become a direct participant of the STEP2 system. So far the EKS connection to the STEP2 system was provided via the RPS SEPA Clearer system maintained by Deutsche Bundesbank.

It is expected that these changes will have a positive impact on Latvia's interbank payments as the payment exchange time between the EKS and the STEP2 system will decrease, thus enabling EKS participants to extend the time for accepting customer payments by more than an hour and improve customer payment servicing procedures in the credit institutions taking part in the EKS.

Yesterday, on 9 December, which was the first day of the direct connection between the EKS and the STEP2 system, the exchange of more than 130 thousand payments (totalling 215 million euro) was carried out.

This autumn the Council of Latvijas Banka adopted several resolutions on improvement of the operation of Latvia's interbank payment system. The improvements introduced from November 2014 also include provision of EKS operation in Latvia on the business days transferred by the Cabinet of Ministers decree when the euro payment system TARGET2 is not operational. This enables the credit institutions – participants of the EKS – to accelerate execution of customer payments, thus facilitating full-fledged operation of enterprises on the transferred business days.