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December 25, 2004

The Bank of Canada as Lender of Last Resort

As the ultimate provider of Canadian-dollar liquidity to the financial system, the Bank of Canada has the unique capacity to create Canadian-dollar claims on the central bank and the power to make secured loans or advances to chartered banks and other members of the Canadian Payments Association. The Bank supplies overnight credit on a routine basis through the Standing Liquidity Facility (SLF) to direct participants in the Large Value Transfer System, and Emergency Lending Assistance (ELA) to solvent deposit-taking institutions that require more substantial and prolonged credit. The authors review the policy framework that guides the Bank's lender-of-last-resort function, including the key issues, terms and conditions, and eligibility criteria associated with its SLF and ELA activities. Also discussed are foreign currency ELA, the relationship between SLF and ELA, systemic risk and Bank of Canada intervention, and the potential provision of liquidity to major clearing and settlement systems.
December 23, 2004

Bank of Canada Lender-of-Last-Resort Policies

The Bank of Canada has distinct roles as a lender of last resort. This article outlines how and under what circumstances the Bank can routinely provide liquidity to facilitate payment settlement, as well as the various ways it can respond in more exceptional situations.

November 21, 2003

Developments, Issues, and Initiatives in Retail Payments

Innovations in basic information technologies, in payment applications, and in the availability of global markets, as well as substantial changes in financial sector policy, have fundamentally changed how the retail payments system in Canada operates. Principally, the volume and types of electronic payments have grown, and there is increased participation by diverse groups of financial and non-financial institutions as providers of retail payment services. The resulting policy problem for payment systems is how best to benefit from efficiency gains while managing payment risks. O'Connor examines the effect of the technological and legislative changes and the initiatives developed by the public and private sectors in such areas as the market arrangements for services; customer risks and costs for settling large-value retail payments; the security of payment information and the efficiency with which it is transmitted; and the effects of differing regulatory regimes on competition among providers of retail payment services.
November 20, 2003

Technical Note: Elimination of Retroactive Settlement in the ACSS

Effective 1 November 2003, the Bank of Canada abandoned its practice of backdating the results of settlement of payments through the Automated Clearing Settlement System (ACSS). It has adopted instead a system of "next-day" settlement under which the results of the settlement process will appear on the central bank's books on the day the items actually settle in the ACSS. Since July 1986, settlement of these items had occurred at noon the day after items were presented for clearing, but the results were recognized on the Bank's books the previous day, through backdating, or "retroactive" settlement. The new system should simplify the payments process and improve the reporting of settlement risk, as well as promote cost-effectiveness within the payments systems. ACSS participants have agreed among themselves to implement an interest-compensation mechanism in order to avoid imposing a float charge on their customer base.

Excess Collateral in the LVTS: How Much is Too Much?

Staff Working Paper 2003-36 Kim McPhail, Anastasia Vakos
The authors build a theoretical model that generates demand for collateral by Large Value Transfer System (LVTS) participants under the assumption that they minimize the cost of holding and managing collateral for LVTS purposes. The model predicts that the optimal amount of collateral held by each LVTS participant depends on the opportunity cost of collateral, the transactions costs of acquiring assets used as collateral and transferring them in and out of the LVTS, and the distribution of an LVTS participant's payment flows in the LVTS.

Managing Operational Risk in Payment, Clearing, and Settlement Systems

Staff Working Paper 2003-2 Kim McPhail
Awareness of operational risk has increased greatly in recent years, both at individual financial institutions and for payment, clearing, and settlement systems (PCSS). PCSS consist of networks of interconnected elements (i.e., central operators, participants, and settlement agents); operational problems at any one of the key elements have the potential to disrupt the system as a whole and negatively affect financial stability.
November 20, 2002

CLS Bank: Managing Foreign Exchange Settlement Risk

In the foreign exchange market, where average daily turnover is in trillions of dollars and trades span time zones, legal systems, and domestic payments systems, participants take on various risks. The most serious risk is credit risk—the risk that one party will fail to pay. Central banks, private sector financial institutions, and domestic payments systems operators laboured for more than a decade to develop a multi-currency settlement system to deal with these risks. The result, the CLS Bank, began operations in September 2002. It virtually eliminates the credit risk inherent in foreign exchange transactions by providing a payment-versus-payment arrangement for settlement. The CLS Bank is regulated by the Federal Reserve Board in consultation with the central banks that have currencies settling through its system. At present there are seven currencies, including the Canadian dollar. The Bank of Canada acts as banker for the CLS Bank, providing it with a settlement account and making and receiving payments on its behalf through the Large Value Transfer System. With the participation and support of the world's largest foreign-exchange-dealing institutions, and growing membership, the CLS Bank has the potential to become the dominant global mechanism for settling foreign exchange transactions.
May 16, 2001

Core Principles for Systemically Important Payments Systems and Their Application in Canada

Systemically important payments systems are systems that, because of the size or the nature of the payments they process, could trigger or transmit serious shocks across domestic or international financial systems if they were insufficiently protected against risk. This article describes the overall framework of core principles developed for the design, operation, and oversight of such payments systems. The article reviews the role of the task force established to develop the core principles and examines the core principles themselves. It also examines the role of central banks in overseeing major payments systems and in applying the core principles to them. The focus is on the Bank of Canada's oversight responsibilities under the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act and on Canada's systemically important payments system—the LVTS.
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