The Clearing Banks Association of The Bahamas (CBA) hopes to see the first phase of the Automated Clearing House (ACH) in place by the end of the year. ACH systems are commonly used in financial institutions that provide for the inter-bank clearing of electronic payments for participating depository financial institutions.

Earlier this year, Central Bank Governor Wendy Craigg pointed out that the ACH represents Phase II of the Payments System Modernisation Initiative, *”which continues to be a collaborative effort between the Central Bank and the commercial banks.”* In the initial phase of the ACH, the clearing banks will provide the infrastructure company, and the CBA has issued Request for Proposals (RFP) to software vendors, with tomorrow – June 30 – as the deadline date for applications. Separate invitations have been issued for the role of ACH Project Manager, while the CBA continues it assessment of location and staffing for the ACH.

The Central Bank introduced the Bahamas Interbank Settlement System (BISS), a Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), last year May as Phase I of the PSMI, at a reported cost of some $2 million. At that time, it announced plans for the automation of the existing cheque clearing process. The ACH system is expected to promote other forms of electronic payments that are used on a daily basis in various parts of the world.

The CBA includes Commonwealth Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Caribbean International Bank (Bahamas), Scotia Bank, The Bank of the Bahamas International and The Royal Bank of Canada.