SIA-SSB has signed an agreement with the European Payments Council (EPC) that declares the Italian company’s clearing and settlement mechanism (CSM) is a fully SEPA compliant infrastructure ahead of January 2008. Thanks to this agreement, SIA-SSB will provide the Italian banking community and their customers with a SEPA compliant infrastructure complemented with further ancillary services such as format conversion to facilitate a smooth migration from the current domestic payments to the new European instruments. To date, SIA-SSB is the only SEPA compliant CSM in Italy. Through the partnership with EBA Clearing, SIA-SSB is able to offer CSM SEPA compliant processing services (initially credit transfers and then direct debits) sharing the existing technical platform of EBA Clearing’s STEP2/PEACH. The company hopes that this ‘shared platform’ approach will allow its customers, as well as EBA clearing banks, to benefit from a solid and reliable infrastructure for processing payments with unmatched opportunities for considerable economies of scale, from a single gate as an entry point for all services for any euro area counterparts and from full distribution capability within the single euro payments area (SEPA). At the same time, this platform is designed to ensure a high flexibility, allowing banks to maintain access to the two settlement systems, TARGET and EURO1, minimising the cost and organisational complexity and to choose the most suitable access networks, SIANet or SWIFTNet.
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