Eastern Caribbean Au­to­mated Clear­ing House (ECACH) to launch in Saint Lu­cia

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

The com­mer­cial banks in the coun­tries of the Eastern Caribbean Cur­rency Union (ECCU) will soon have a more se­cure, faster and more ef­fi­cient pay­ment trans­fer sys­tem that will al­low fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to ex­change cheques elec­tron­i­cally.

The banks have col­lab­o­rated with the Eastern Caribbean Cen­tral Bank (ECCB) to es­tab­lish the Eastern Caribbean Au­to­mated Clear­ing House (ECACH) which was launched on a coun­try by coun­try ba­sis and will begin in St Lu­cia on Wed­nes­day 18th Fe­bru­ary.

The ECACH will al­low fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in Saint Lu­cia to cap­ture images of the front and back of each cheque, and the code line (also called the MICR Line) data at the bot­tom of the cheque. The images and code line in­for­ma­tion will then be trans­mit­ted be­tween fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. This shift to im­age-based clear­ing in the ECCU will not only im­prove ef­fi­ciency but will also al­low fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to in­tro­duce new ser­vices that pro­vide faster and more con­ve­nient ac­cess to cheque images.

The ECACH will of­fer cus­tomers the ben­e­fit of hav­ing their cheques set­tled within a shorter time­frame. In ad­di­tion, cheques drawn on a com­mer­cial bank in one par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­try but pro­cessed at a com­mer­cial bank in an­other par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­try will be cleared in the same time­frame as cheques drawn and pro­cessed at com­mer­cial banks in the same coun­try.

With the new sys­tem, cus­tomers will have to en­sure that suf­fi­cient funds are avail­able in their ac­counts to cover all cheques at the time they are is­sued.

Coun­tries all around the world have al­ready moved or are mov­ing to­wards elec­tronic forms of cheque pro­cess­ing. This move by the com­mer­cial banks in the ECCU will en­sure that the ECCU clear­ing sys­tem keeps pace with global trends. It is also in keep­ing with the banks’ thrust to of­fer im­proved ser­vices to their cus­tomers.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing banks in­clude: 1st Na­tional Bank St. Lu­cia Limited, CIBC First-Caribbean In­ter­na­tional Bank (Bar­ba­dos) Limited, Bank of Saint Lu­cia Limited, Royal Bank of Canada/RBTT, Sco­tia­bank.

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