I must have been sleeping back in 2006 when the three European Central Banks – National Bank of Belgium, Banque duÂ LuxembourgÂ and the Dutch National Bank – signed an agreement that gave birth to the Cash Single Shared Platform (CSSP). Since then another sixÂ central banks have joined the cooperative.Â MembershipÂ now includes the central banks of Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Finland, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Estonia. CSSP seems to be a good idea that is gathering momentum with other EU countries.
The Cash Single Shared PlatformÂ offers complete functionality to track and trace deposited and withdrawn currency, and interfaces with existing banknote processing machines, GL applications, accounting systems. CSSP is a centrally hosted and regionally deployed service made possible with secure generic communications. Remarks regarding the drivers for, birth and evolution of CSSP by Mr. Guy Quaden, governor of the National Bank of Belgium, summarizes the inception of the idea as a national platform first, which thenÂ tantalizedÂ it’s founders with international possibilities. Mr. Quaden’s remarks can be found here. The Cash Single Shared Platform promises:
CashSSP (SSP stands for Single Shared Platform) is a leading Logistical Cash Management IT System that is operational at the central banks of Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Finland, Ireland, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta and Estonia to handle their exchange of notes and coins with their commercial banks and their cash in transit companies.
The process of the announcements for Lodgements and Withdrawals of currency is fully automated as well as the Lodgement and Withdrawal functions executed by the central bank cashiers and Cash Handlers. The system offers a complete functionality to track and trace the lodged and withdrawed currency and offers interfacing with existing banknote processing (sorting) machines, general ledger applications, accounting systems and local and global payment systems.
One of the major objectives of the CashSSP system is, besides flexibility and user friendliness, to stay in line with “European System of Central Banks” standards and regulations as well as other international standards if applicable.
CashSSP supports currently the ECB tracing code, CIS2 (Currency Information System 2) reporting, EXDI (data exchange between National Central Banks) over Corenet V3 and its service provider (the National Bank of Belgium) is actively contributing to the ESCB Shared Services domain. Upon roll-out of DECS (the European Data Exchange for Cash Services) at the ECB, CashSSP will support DECS from the start.
CashSSP is fully compliant with the ESCB Reference Architectures, Frameworks, Service Level Management Policies, Security Policies and Access Management Policies.
CashSSP is developed to work with any currency, accounting currency and packaging.
Imagine if you will, that the central banks of the US, England, Canada, Australia, China (ok – they probably already do this but with a slightly different implementation) were to implement a similar sharedÂ platform. Arguably this would not operate between central banks, but between the central bank and the financial institutions that use and manage cash on a daily basis. Is this “Big Brother” run amok in the vault or is this perhaps the logical evolution of modern cash management? Consider the benefits – all cash usage, movement and quality could be monitored on a daily basis – financial institutions would trade individual infrastructure costs for shared expense – all staff everywhere would be using a common platform, making generic training and support possible – inventoryÂ balancing (regionally), replenishment and removal could be forecast, managed and implemented on a national scale – inventory ownership and holdings compliance data – the list is long. On the other hand, it would take considerable cooperation and adoption amongst cash handling instituions like banks and CIT’s. It is unlikely that such a structure could grow organically as it did from the National Bank of Belgium for Cash Single Shared Platform. More likely is that it would be legislatively implemented with much outcry.
At this time I don’t think that commercial operators need fear that such integration is within their field of view. However if the Cash Single Shared PlatformÂ continues to grow and demonstrate the kinds of benefits it has so far, I think it highly possible that one or more central banks could tryÂ somethingÂ similar and on a national scale. The EU has already gone there. Who is next to adopt a Cash Single Shared Platform policy and infrastructure?