A model of check exchange
The authors construct and simulate a model of check exchange to examine the incentives a bank (or a bank clearinghouse) has to engage in practices that limit access to its payment facilities, in particular delaying the availability of check payment. The potentially disadvantaged bank has the option of directly presenting checks to the first bank. The authors find that if the retail banking market is highly competitive, the first bank will not engage in such practices, but if the retail banking market is imperfectly competitive, it will find it advantageous to restrict access to its facilities. Lower costs of direct presentment can reduce (but not eliminate) the range over which these practices are employed. The practice of delayed presentment can either reduce or increase welfare, again depending on the degree of competition in the market. The model suggests that, were the Federal Reserve System to exit the business of check processing, practices such as delayed presentment would b e more prevalent.
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