TARGET2, short for Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross Settlement Express Transfer system, is the RTGS-system provided through the Eurosystem. It is used for settling central bank operations, primarily related to monetary policy, for large interbank transfers, for client operations and settlement of Ancillary Systems; all euro-denominated. The specific features of TARGET2 include processing in real time, settlement in central bank money and immediate finality.
Secure and efficient transactions of funds are key in a modern economy. In order to have smooth transactions one needs reliable infrastructure that allows banks to wire money to one another in real-time. This is called real-time gross settlement (RTGS).
As of 1999 the TARGET platform was used for this purpose. TARGET was based on the local RTGS-systems of participating countries. Given that a fluent functioning of payment systems and market infrastructures is an important instrument for the Eurosystem to preserve financial stability in the euro area, the decision was made to develop a centralised technical platform for real-time gross settlement. To that end three central banks of the Eurosystem (Banca d'Italia, Banque de France and Deutsche Bundesbank) constructed the TARGET2 platform. They run the platform on behalf of the Eurosystem since 2008.
TARGET2 meets three important objectives of the Eurosystem:
- To provide a secure and reliable mechanism for the settlement of (interbank and other) euro-denominated RTGS transfers;
- To enhance the efficiency of cross-border payments in the euro area;
- To provide a platform for the implementation of the monetary policy of the Eurosystem by means of central bank operations.
Nearly 1800 banks are direct participants in TARGET2. They utilize the platform to execute euro-denominated transactions for their own account and for their clients. In addition they represent other financial institutions that do not have a direct connection to TARGET2. Through the services delivered by direct participants to those financial institutions, more than 55000 banks worldwide are reachable via TARGET2.
The benefits of TARGET2
The TARGET2 system:
integrates high-performance instruments for liquidity management and optimisation;
supplies harmonised services through the use of a single interface;
permits a high degree of cost-effectiveness and an inexpensive single pricing system;
encourages the integration of new Member States into the euro area;
meets extremely high requirements as regards stability and business continuity.
The role of the NBB
The National Bank of Belgium constitutes the legal counterparty of Belgian banks that participate directly in Target2. To the participants of the Belgian component of TARGET2 (TARGET2-BE) the National Bank of Belgium is interlocutor for all TARGET2 related matters. Besides that the NBB fulfils an important operational roll for the Belgian TARGET2 participants: the opening of accounts, the monitoring of transactions, the implementation of monetary policy operations and aid the banks in case problems arise.
TARGET2 opening times
TARGET2 is open every workday from 7am to 6pm, except on New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Day and Easter Monday, Labour Day (1 May), Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25 and 26 December).