Liquidity costs and tiering in large-value payment systems

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 20 July 2010

Working Paper No. 399
By Mark Adams, Marco Galbiati and Simone Giansante 

This paper develops and simulates a model of the emergence of networks in an interbank, RTGS payment system. A number of banks, faced with random streams of payment orders, choose whether to link directly to the payment system, or to use a correspondent bank. Settling payments directly on the system imposes liquidity costs which depend on the maximum liquidity overdraft incurred during the day. On the other hand, using a correspondent entails paying a flat fee, charged by the correspondent to recoup liquidity costs and to extract a profit. We specify a protocol whereby one bank in each period can revisit its choice whether to link directly to the system, or to become clients of other banks, thus generating a dynamic client-correspondent network. We simulate this protocol, observing the emergence of different network structures. The liquidity pricing regime chosen by a central bank is found to affect the tiering process and the network structures it produces. A calibration exercise on data from the UK CHAPS system suggests that the model is able to generate realistic predictions, ie a network topology similar to that observed in reality, driven solely by the underlying pattern of payments and the structure of liquidity costs.

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