WestLB and VocaLink Agree to Cooperate in SEPA Payments

18 September 2008

WestLB AG and VocaLink, the payment transaction specialists, signed a cooperation agreement for processing SEPA payments at the SIBOS international banking fair in Vienna. The agreement paves the way for direct routing of all payments by banks connected to VocaLink in favour of savings banks in Germany and vice-versa. WestLB will utilise the opportunities afforded by VocaLink through its Euro CSM (Clearing & Settlement Mechanism). In turn, VocaLink will profit from the networking of WestLB in the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. Synergies from the networking ultimately benefit all customers through low-cost and timely processing of their payment transfers.

With this agreement WestLB enables VocaLink, in a first step, to obtain direct access to PAYCE, the Automated Clearing House of the German savings banks and Landesbanks. With over 7 billion transactions PAYCE is one of the largest clearing houses in Europe for transfers, direct debits and card transactions. The agreement therefore represents a further networking of clearing systems. Going forward further cooperation agreements are planned with the envisaged launch of the SEPA Direct Debit in November 2009.

Steffen Kowalski, member of the divisional board at WestLB, said:
"The cooperation agreement signed with VocaLink will yield process and cost advantages for the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. I am therefore particularly pleased that WestLB not only makes an important contribution to SEPA but can also further expand its role in the payments field in partnership with the savings banks."

Martin Wilson, chief commercial officer at VocaLink, said: ”We are delighted that WestLB has joined our community of banks and is able to send and receive payments in and out of Germany through our Euro CSM. This further illustrates the attractiveness of our SEPA offering to European banks.”

Following the introduction of SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area), the system designed to harmonise payment transactions in Europe, networking is becoming increasingly important. Already today more than 100 million payments in Europe are processed annually as low-cost, standardised cross-border transfers. These numbers will rise significantly with the progressive implementation of SEPA.

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