In keeping with global trends, since September 25, 2014 to date we have introduced successfully a quicker, more efficient system of cheque clearing through the launch of the Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House (ECACH) in 8 territories namely; Antigua/ Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts/ Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Anguilla and Montserrat.
ECACH is the result of the collaboration between the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the commercial banks within the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. 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 for local currency cheques. 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 within and across all territories brings many benefits to customers including:
- A more efficient system which may result in reduced settlement time. In particular, cheques for XCD 150,000 and over will be cleared and settled same day or at latest next day dependent on the time it is processed at your Bank.
- Cheques between the participating islands can be cleared in the same time frame as a local cheque. This function was available from March 18, 2015.
iii. Physical cheques are replaced by cheque images and physical items will no longer be returned to customers with monthly statements nor will they be available.
The introduction of ECACH will require changes in how customers must operate. In particular:
- 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.
- Cheques for XCD 150,000 and over should be deposited as early as possible during the day. These items can possibly be cleared and settled same day to allow customers’ access to funds provided these items are deposited at their Bank within the timeframe required. Please check with your Bank for the deadline to deposit these cheques.
- Only properly printed/encoded cheques will be accepted from customers for processing through the ECACH. Customers are asked to check with their Banks to ensure they have a supply of the appropriate cheques to be used going forward. Cheques which do not meet the standard requirements for the ECACH cannot be processed through the system and may be subject to delayed settlement, if accepted at all by your bank .
- Customers are reminded that they will no longer receive the physical cheques returned with their statements. Instead and if offered/ desired they may 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.
Name: Philomena Lee , General Manager
Phone: 1 246 231 8630