The Choice Among Interbank Settlement Systems: The European Experience
This paper addresses the choice of banks between alternative channels for interbank payments. The conventional view assumes a tradeoff between the safety of real-time gross settlement (RTGS) and the liquidity savings of multilateral netting. Moreover, correspondent banking is believed to be inefficient, both in terms of liquidity and of administrative costs. In the last decade, however, the impulse of the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems, technological changes and the management of RTGS systems by central banks have reduced the difference between the various systems. This is especially true for risk, whereas liquidity cost crucially depends on the refinancing policy adopted by the central bank and the co-ordination among the participants. On the basis of the recent evolution of payment systems in Europe, we verify the importance of liquidity, as well as other variables like transaction costs, for the choice of banks among different settlement systems. Cost factors imply that the nature of payments flows (value, commercial versus financial) and some structural features of the banking systems (dimension of the intermediaries, concentration of the banking sector) become important. The analysis is carried out both through a theoretical model and a cross-country comparison based on three data sources: ECB (European Central Bank, EBA (Euro Banking Association) and SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). Copyright Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, 2003
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Volume (Year): 32 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
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