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Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House now serving SVG

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Starting March 4, a quicker, more efficient system of cheque clearing will be introduced when the Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House (ECACH) is launched in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

ECACH is the result of a collaboration between the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the commercial banks within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.{{more}} ECACH will be managed by Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House Services Incorporated (ECACHSI), which has been established to oversee the operation of a secure automated clearing system. This system facilitates electronic cheque image clearing and will eventually allow for electronic funds transfer among all commercial banks in the participating territories.

The establishment of the ECACH will bring many benefits to customers, including:

i. A more efficient system which may result in reduced settlement time.

ii. Cheques between the participating islands can potentially be cleared in the same time-frame as a local cheque. This function is expected to be available March 18, 2015.

iii. Physical cheques are replaced by cheque images and physical items will no longer be returned with monthly statements.

The introduction of ECACH will also require changes in how customers must operate. In particular:

i. Customers are urged to ensure that sufficient funds are available on accounts to cover all cheques at the same time that the cheques are written.

ii. Only properly printed/encoded cheques will be accepted from customers. Customers are asked to check with their banks to ensure they have a supply of the appropriate cheques to be used going forward.

iii. Customers are reminded that they will no longer receive the physical cheques returned with their statements. Instead and if offered/desired, they will be provided with copies of the cheque images.

The ECACH is expected to improve overall efficiency and accuracy in clearing cheques by replacing the current manual, paper-based payment processes between banks with swifter, easier electronic processes. Individuals and businesses should contact their local banks for more details on how the new system may impact on them.

For more information please visit the website of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank at www.eccb.org or your bank’s website.

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