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Towards a Network Description of Interbank Payment Flows


  • Marc Pröpper
  • Iman van Lelyveld
  • Ronald Heijmans


We present the application of network theory to the Dutch payment system with specific attention to systemic stability. The network nodes comprise of domestic banks, large international banks and TARGET countries, the links are established by payments between the nodes. Traditional measures (transactions, values) first show payments are relatively well behaved through time and that the system does not contain a group of significant structural net receivers or payers among the participant institutions. Structural circular flows do, however, exist in the system, most prominently a large circular net flow between TARGET countries. Analysis of the properties of prominent network measures over time shows that fast network development takes place in the early phase of network formation of about one hour and slower development afterwards. The payment network is small (in actual nodes and links), compact (in path length and eccentricity) and sparse (in connectivity) for all time periods. In the long run, a mere 12% of the possible number of interbank connections is ever used and banks are on average only 2 steps apart. Relations in the network tend to be reciprocal. Our results also indicate that the network is susceptible to directed attacks. In a final section we show that the recent sub prime' turmoil in credit markets has not materially affected the network structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Pröpper & Iman van Lelyveld & Ronald Heijmans, 2008. "Towards a Network Description of Interbank Payment Flows," DNB Working Papers 177, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:177

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Soramäki, Kimmo & Bech, Morten L. & Arnold, Jeffrey & Glass, Robert J. & Beyeler, Walter E., 2007. "The topology of interbank payment flows," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 379(1), pages 317-333.
    2. Elisabeth Ledrut, 2006. "A tale of the water-supplying plumber: intraday liquidity provision in payment systems," DNB Working Papers 099, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco J. van der Leij & José Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2006. "Economics: An Emerging Small World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 403-432, April.
    4. Lelyveld, Iman van & Liedorp, Franka, 2004. "Interbank Contagion in the Dutch Banking Sector," MPRA Paper 651, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 11 Jul 2005.
    5. Ágnes Lublóy, 2006. "Topology of the Hungarian large-value transfer system," MNB Occasional Papers 2006/57, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
    6. Marcello Pericoli & Massimo Sbracia, 2003. "A Primer on Financial Contagion," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(4), pages 571-608, September.
    7. Rosati, Simonetta & Secola, Stefania, 2005. "Explaining cross-border large-value payment flows: evidence from TARGET and EURO 1 data," Working Paper Series 443, European Central Bank.
    8. Morten L. Bech & Rodney J. Garratt, 2012. "Illiquidity in the Interbank Payment System Following Wide‐Scale Disruptions," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44(5), pages 903-929, August.
    9. Franklin Allen & Douglas Gale, 1998. "Financial Contagion Journal of Political Economy," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-31, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
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    Cited by:

    1. Champagne, Claudia, 2014. "The international syndicated loan market network: An “unholy trinity”?," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 148-168.
    2. Paulo Bastos & Nicolas L. Bottan & Julian Cristia, 2017. "Access to Preprimary Education and Progression in Primary School: Evidence from Rural Guatemala," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, pages 521-547.
    3. Lillo, Felipe & Valdés, Rodrigo, 2016. "Dynamics of financial markets and transaction costs: A graph-based study," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 455-465.
    4. Diana Barro & Antonella Basso, 2008. "A network of business relations to model counterparty risk," Working Papers 171, Department of Applied Mathematics, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
    5. Wetherilt, Anne & Zimmerman, Peter & Soramaki, Kimmo, 2010. "The sterling unsecured loan market during 2006-08: insights from network theory," Bank of England working papers 398, Bank of England.
    6. Martinez-Jaramillo, Serafin & Alexandrova-Kabadjova, Biliana & Bravo-Benitez, Bernardo & Solórzano-Margain, Juan Pablo, 2014. "An empirical study of the Mexican banking system’s network and its implications for systemic risk," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 242-265.
    7. León, Carlos & Berndsen, Ron J., 2014. "Rethinking financial stability: Challenges arising from financial networks’ modular scale-free architecture," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 241-256.
    8. Leon Rincon, C.E., 2015. "Financial stability from a network perspective," Other publications TiSEM bb2e4e44-e842-45c6-a946-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    9. repec:ijc:ijcjou:y:2017:q:4:a:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Cohen-Cole, Ethan & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Systemic Risk and Network Formation in the Interbank Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 8332, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Klaus Abbink & Ronald Bosman & Ronald Heijmans & Frans van Winden, 2017. "Disruptions in Large-Value Payment Systems: An Experimental Approach," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 13(4), pages 63-95, December.
    12. Julián Caballero, 2012. "Banking Crises and Financial Integration," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4198, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item


    network; topology; interbank; payment; systemic risk; financial stability;

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit

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