Twenty-eight financial institutions from 11 countries have signed on to a project being coordinated by NACHA, The Electronic Payments Association, to develop a low cost, cross border electronic payments system based on the Internet Protocol. Implementation of such a system, called the Worldwide Automated Transaction Clearing House (WATCH), could reduce the costs for cross-border payments by up to 40 percent. The WATCH project envisions the creation of a new bank-owned, not-for-profit company to process payments from a sending bank in the national payment system’s format or the UN/EDIFACT format to the WATCH system. WATCH will then convert the file into the format of the automated clearing house in which the receiving bank participates. Some of the participants include; National Australia Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Dresdner Bank; ABN AMRO; Union Bank of Norway; Credit Suisse, HSBC, Lloyds TSB Bank, Bank of America.
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Early-stage merger and acquisition deals in Asia-Pacific show nearly 10% year-on-year growth in recent months.