Narodowy Bank Polski

Quicker and cheaper euro settlements
The National Bank of Poland joins the STEP2 and EURO1 systems

Poles will soon have access to quicker and cheaper settlements of low-value euro transactions on the territory of the European Union. As of 30 May 2005, the National Bank of Poland has become a participant in the STEP2 and EURO1 systems, making it possible for the EuroELIXIR system to begin cross-border operation.

For over a year the National Bank of Poland, in response to the needs of the Polish banking sector, had been preparing for participation in the STEP2 and EURO1 systems managed by the EBA Clearing Company with headquarters in Paris. The STEP2 system is a pan-European clearing house enabling the fast processing of euro payment instructions of up to 12,500 euro (50,000 euro as of 2006) between EU countries.

Thanks to its participation in the STEP2 system, the National Clearing House (KIR), in active cooperation with the NBP, will commence cross-border operations of the EuroELIXIR system, which has been handling domestic euro transactions since 7 March 2005. It is in March 2005 that the Polish payment system was linked by the SORBNET-EURO system to the pan-European TARGET system used for the settlement of large-value transactions. The majority of commercial banks active in Poland (34), already participate in the SORBNET-EURO and EuroELIXIR systems.

The linking of the domestic retail euro payments system with the pan-European STEP2 clearing house will not only accelerate the settlement cycle for euro payment instructions, but will also reduce costs for banks handling such instructions. This, in turn, should lead to significant benefits for their clients.

Poland is the first new European Union member country to have set up, in such short time, settlement mechanisms for large-value and retail euro payments and to have linked them to European-wide networks.

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