Payments in TARGET2/TARGET2-GR

TARGET2 maintained its leading position in Europe, processing 90% of the total value settled by large-value payment systems in euro, and in the world as one of the biggest payment systems.

At end-December 2018, its direct participants exceeded 1,000, while its total turnover amounted to almost €432.5 trillion (TARGET Annual Report 2018). TARGET2 processes the bilateral settlement of payment orders submitted by direct participants, as well as orders from ancillary systems (AS) resulting from the clearing and net settlement process. In the case of direct participants, the originator (payer) is either a CI customer (customer payment) or the CI itself (interbank payment), whereas in the case of ancillary systems, the AS transmits a net settlement file to be processed in TARGET2 according to a specific settlement model. Furthermore, TARGET2 is used for the settlement of national central bank (NCBs) payments connected to key functions in the context of the Eurosystem, such as payments related to the monetary policy operations. TARGET2 is based on a Single Shared Platform (SSP) for payments managed by the Eurosystem according to a decentralized design, i.e. each NCB is responsible for the management of the respective national TARGET2 component system. Thus, TARGET2-GR is the Greek component of TARGET2 operated by the Bank of Greece and is comprised by the Bank, Credit Institutions (CI) and Ancillary Systems (AS) operating in Greece.

Participants


 

TARGET2

TARGET2-GR

Direct Participants


 

1,056  28

of which

Central banks

25 1

Retail payment systems

31 2

Securities settlement systems

23 1

Central counterparties

4 -

Other participants (mainly CIs)

973 24
Indirect participants


 

 659 5
Total Payments


 


 


 

Volume of payments

in millions

88.4 0.7
Share (in volume terms)

% of the total


0.8
Value of payments

€ billion

432,508.35  938.4
Share (in value terms)

% of the total


 

0.2
Payments per category (%, in volume terms)
Customer - Interbank


 

 81.5 67
Central bank


 

7 20
Ancillary systems


 

 8.5 12
Liquidity transfers


 

3 1
Payments per category

(%, in value terms)


 


 

Customer - Interbank


 

 44  15
Central bank


 

11  44
Ancillary systems


 

 18  34
Liquidity transfers


 

27  6

Open market operations

Open market operations are conducted on the initiative of the ECB, which determines the instruments to be used and the terms and conditions for their execution (see Open Market Operations). Main refinancing operations, conducted on a weekly basis and normally with a maturity of one week, are the most common instrument. Main refinancing operations provide liquidity to CIs and are executed by the Bank of Greece in the form of reverse transactions. The settlement of the cash leg of such transactions is carried out against collateral put forward by the CI for this purpose. Upon maturity, principal and accrued interest are repaid to the Bank of Greece, which simultaneously releases the collateral.

Standing facilities

In the context of the monetary policy conducted by the Eurosystem, the Bank of Greece offers to domestic CIs the deposit and marginal lending facilities. Under the deposit facility, a CI may deposit overnight part of its liquidity in an account held with the BoG and the related one-day interest is calculated. Under the marginal lending facility, CIs may receive overnight credit from the Bank of Greece against eligible assets, in the event that the balance on their RTGS accounts is expected to be negative at the system’s closing time (marginal lending on request). If a requirement for the participant’s request has not been met, automatic marginal lending is provided, whereby intraday credit is transformed into overnight credit at the end of the day.

Interbank payments

TARGET2-GR participants may access markets across the Eurosystem and mainly the euro area money market.  In this context, payments between CIs, as well as all payments between CIs which are carried out for their own account (as opposed to payments on behalf of their customers) are defined as interbank payments.  Interbank payments between CIs belonging to the same parent entity are identified as intra-group liquidity transfers.

Ancillary systems settlements

Retail payment systems

Retail payment systems use the TARGET2-GR system for the settlement of their final positions.

On a daily basis, nine settlement cycles take place in TARGET2-GR for both domestic and cross-border payments of the interbank system of DIAS S.A. For cross-border payments DIAS S.A. co-operates with EQUENS (a clearing house based in the Netherlands), while it also provides a technical facility to CIs that are participants in the STEP2 platform operated by EBA Clearing (a pan-European clearing house). 

The ACO clears bank drafts and private cheques denominated in euro or foreign currency, drawn on banks operating in Greece (see Athens Clearing Office). With respect to euro-denominated cheques, TARGET2-GR provides same-day settlement of the net positions resulting from ACO clearing.

Securities settlement systems

Through BOGS, book-entry securities of the Greek government and other agencies are issued, registered and monitored. Also, the system provides clearing and settlement services for transactions in book-entry securities held in participants’ accounts. The Bank of Greece, as Manager of the System, has participated in TARGET2-Securities (T2S), the single pan-European technical platform for securities settlement, since 22 June 2015, while the cash leg of securities transactions is settled in central bank money through Dedicated Cash Accounts (DCAs) in TARGET2. 

Hellenic Exchanges S.A. (HELEX) operates the securities depository and settlement system for all transactions on the Athens Exchange. The Central Securities Depository (CSD) is a member of TARGET2-GR as an ancillary system. It also provides securities settlement services, the cash leg of which is settled to TARGET2-GR.

Retail payments in TARGET2-GR

Customer payments

In addition to the settlement of retail payment system net positions, TARGET2-GR also settles customer payments, i.e. retail payments of typically low value initiated by CI customers and executed, on their behalf, by CIs.  

The choice of using TARGET2-GR rather than a retail payment system for customer payments is mainly associated with the time aspect of the payment, given that TARGET2-GR provides real-time final settlement during its operating hours. The share of customer payments in total payments settled to TARGET2-GR in 2017 amounted to 56.2% in volume terms and 2.7% in value terms. 

Cross-border customer payments

Cross-border customer payments refer to customer payments between direct participants of different national components of TARGET2. Such payments generate claims and corresponding liabilities (bilateral balances) for the respective NCBs TARGET2 account balance. Moreover, TARGET2 is used as a channel for payments to and from CIs established outside the EU through their TARGET2 correspondents. The largest share of CIs acting as TARGET2 correspondents are accounted for by the TARGET2 components of Germany, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Belgium (ECB data). Thus, an estimated number of more than 55,000 CIs worldwide can initiate and receive payments, making TARGET2 a global hub for processing payments in euro. A geographical breakdown analysis of TARGET2 payments by originator (payer) and recipient (payee) allows for a mapping of payments of euro payments in a world scale.

Instant payments

The Eurosystem is currently developing a new service for instant payments, TARGET2 Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS), which commenced operations in November 2018. The new service will be available 24/7/365 at pan-European level and will co-exist with other instant payment solutions available in the market. 

Liquidity management

The Eurosystem has approved the technical and functional integration of the TARGET2 and T2S platforms, which will enable TARGET2 end users to benefit from the state-of-the-art functionalities of T2S. An important advantage arising from the TARGET2-T2S integration will be the Central Liquidity Management (CLM) feature, allowing for a clear allocation of liquidity for the different settlement purposes (i.e. Τ2, Τ2S, TIPS)

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