Herstatt Risk

Cross-currency settlement risk that arises where the working hours of inter-bank fund transfer systems do not overlap due to time zone differences. In this situation, failure by one counterparty to settle its side of the deal starts a chain reaction of cross-defaults. It is named after a small German bank (Bankhaus Herstatt) which failed in June 1974 during the period it was supposed to settle a contract after having received the payment from the counterparty. That failure caused a string of cascading defaults in a rapid sequence, totaling a loss of $620 million to the international banking sector.

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