The Clearing House is a banking association and payments company that is owned by the largest commercial banks and dates back to 1853.
The Clearing House Payments Company L.L.C. owns and operates core payments system infrastructure in the United States and is currently working to modernize that infrastructure by launching a new, ubiquitous, real-time payment system. The Payments Company is the only private-sector ACH and wire operator in the United States, clearing and settling nearly $2 trillion in U.S. dollar payments each day, representing half of all commercial ACH and wire volume.
It is focused on safety, security, reliability, and efficiency of bank-owned payment systems and has a long history of operational resilience, having maintained operations without interruption through every financial crisis and natural and man-made disaster since 1853.
The Clearing House provides a place to foster industry collaboration and development where industry coordination is necessary. Beginning with the first U.S. check exchanges, The company has brought together banks to collaborate on key issues, including needs for the next generation of payment systems. Most recently, The Clearing House launched RTP®, a real-time payment system for all U.S. banks.
Supporting services include those offered by The Clearing House Payments Authority, a payments association with more than 1,000 financial institution members and corporate subscribers and those offered by ECCHO, which include: check education, check advocacy, and the creation and maintenance of rules that govern private sector check image exchange for its members.
In addition to its role as an operator, The Clearing House provides thought leadership to the banking industry. It engages with decision makers, conducts research and provides expertise to guide the evolution of public understanding, public policy and legislation and regulation of payments and the financial services industry.
Learn more about our history and contributions by viewing this 160th Anniversary video:
TCH History Highlights
At important points in American history, The Clearing House has provided a forum for banks to act together in addressing crises:
- In 1907, the stock market and world markets crashed, spurred largely by huge insurance company loses after the San Francisco fire of 1906. Led by J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, The Clearing House stepped in by lending money to banks, to the stock exchange and to the City of New York until the panic subsided. Not long after this great panic, The Federal Reserve was formed and The Clearing House’s role evolved to become a proactive resource to promote common interests and help shape the U.S. banking industry.
- When the outbreak of World War I paralyzed international exchange, The Clearing House banks took the lead to restore the nation’s foreign exchange position.
- The Clearing House banks stood steadfast through the Great Depression. From 1931-1934, when 8,000 U.S. banks failed, only one Clearing House bank was lost.
- During World War II, The Clearing House banks promoted the sale of War Bonds.
- As the Millennium approached, The Clearing House facilitated efforts to prepare the financial services industry for Y2K – in the U.S. and around the world.
- On September 11th, and in the aftermath of these attacks, The Clearing House coordinated communication among banking leaders and kept electronic payments processing without interruption.
- In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, The Clearing House has served as a resource to policymakers and regulators as they have developed and implemented the post-crisis regulatory framework.
- Today The Clearing House generates data-driven analysis to improve the regulatory framework in terms of providing for financial stability while not impeding the critical role of banks in fueling economic growth and job creation.
- Throughout its history The Clearing House has helped the payments business evolve from exchanges of gold, to paper, to electronic clearing. In November 2017 The Clearing House launched RTP®, a next-generation payments system that provides for real time clearing and settling of payments with the same safety and soundness principles that have always underpinned The Clearing House’s core payments systems.