Payment Systems

Interbank payment systems

The smooth flow of funds across a financial system depends on the efficient arrangement for transmission, clearing and settlement of payments in a risk free environment. Hence, central banks across the world have to provide arrangements for the timely and secure settlement of high-value payments.

As a result of Malta's adoption of the euro, the Central Bank of Malta joined TARGET2, a high-value payment system. TARGET2 is the second generation of TARGET and stands for Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer system. TARGET2 transactions are settled in central bank money and are covered with immediate finality.

The Bank operates TARGET2-Malta, which together with all the other national EU central banks components make up TARGET2. Prior to the adoption of the euro, the Central Bank of Malta operated a Maltese Lira real-time gross settlement system with the name of MaRIS.

TARGET2-MALTA

The Central Bank of Malta joined TARGET2 from its "go-live" date on 19 November 2007 as an out-country. When Malta joined the euro area on 1 January 2008, the Central Bank of Malta became part of the Eurosystem, and thus participated in TARGET2 as an in-country. Within the Eurosystem, TARGET2 had replaced the decentralised technical platforms of TARGET, which lacked standardisation in technology and services.

The new fully fledged RTGS runs on a single shared platform (SSP), and is operated by three Eurosystem central banks, namely the Banca d'Italia, Banque de France and Deutsche Bundesbank, on behalf of the Eurosystem.

The credit institutions participating directly may transfer euro-denominated payments in real time from their account on the Single Shared Platform (SSP).  Indirectly connected participants settle their payments via a direct participant, using the direct participant's account on the SSP. The system is available between 7.00 CET and 18.00 CET from Monday to Friday, with the exception of six official holidays, namely, 1 January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 1 May, and 25 and 26 December. The Eurosystem settles its monetary policy operations in the TARGET2 system.

The main benefits of TARGET2 include:

  1. higher cost efficiency gains from implementing a centralised system, which results in a substantial reduction in operational and maintenance costs;
  2. system flexibility which is easily adaptable in future;
  3. generation of economies of scale, which give sizeable cost reductions, together with standardised prices for domestic and cross-border payments;
  4. a level playing field among users;
  5. wide flexible liquidity management services to cope with users' demands;
  6. a high level of availability and business continuity.

Financial Stability Board Questionnaire on Continuity of Access to Financial Market Infrastructures for Firms in Resolution

On 6 July 2017 the Financial Stability Board (FSB) published its Guidance on Continuity of Access to Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs) for a Firm in Resolution, according to which providers of critical FMI services should take appropriate steps to consider and plan for the interaction between the resolution regimes of their FMI service users and their own risk management framework; thereby clarifying the actions they may take in a resolution scenario, to support firms and authorities in enhancing resolution readiness.  Since then, the TARGET2 operator has taken measures to reflect the FSB Guidance in the relevant TARGET2 legal and operational documentation.

On 14 August 2020, the FSB published a common template for gathering information about continuity of access to FMIs for firms in resolution with the objective to streamline the provision of information from FMIs to firms and authorities and to reduce the number of inquiries from banks and authorities to FMIs.  The template takes the form of a questionnaire that all FMIs are encouraged to complete.

The Eurosystem as the operator of TARGET2 supports this initiative of the FSB and the Central Bank of Malta is hereby publishing its position with regards to TARGET2-Malta.

Participants in TARGET2-Malta are invited to contact the Central Bank of Malta in case of questions related to the general approach or to the responses for TARGET2.

FSB Continuity of Access to FMIs for Firms in Resolution