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NetBank in Microsoft, Intuit Software Marketing Pacts

Online bank NetBank is aiming to better reach small business customers by teaming up with Microsoft and renewing its marketing deal with Intuit .

As a result, the bank, which has offices in Atlanta, will be promoted in the 2003 edition of Microsoft Money, through logo placement on the product's packaging, and the installation of a NetBank icon on users' desktops. The icon links to a special promotion the bank will offer to Money users.

The software program is expected to hit store shelves later this summer. Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft also will advertise NetBank in banner ads on the Money site through the arrangement.

NetBank also said it is continuing its advertising campaign with Intuit, which sells Quicken personal finance software, a rival to Money. The renewal will mark the third year of collaboration between the firms; NetBank had similar arrangements with Intuit for the 2001 and 2002 releases of Quicken.

Additionally, Quicken.com will feature ads promoting NetBank.

Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

NetBank has been working with both Intuit and Microsoft in a limited capacity since 2000, when it completed Open Financial Exchange certification for the companies' programs, which enables users to download their account information to the applications.

In May, NetBank signed an agreement with another Microsoft unit, its MSN portal, to feature links and information in the CNBC on MSN Money area of the site, also available at CNBC.com. MSN hosts the site in an alliance with CNBC, itself a joint venture between GE's NBC unit and Dow Jones & Co. .

Such moves seek to target technology-savvy consumers who, as the thinking goes, might be willing to try banking online after already showing an interest in managing their finances on the PC. Together, Money and Quicken represent the two top-selling personal finance management applications in the U.S., and NetBank says the deals should help it grow its customer base inexpensively.

"We ... believe each campaign represents a great opportunity for the bank as well as the consumer," said Eve McDowell, chief sales and customer fulfillment executive at NetBank. "The promotions put our brand in front of a desirable, technology-savvy group of consumers whose demographics match those of our existing customers."

The latest marketing agreements come following a string of acquisition activity over the past year by NetBank, which increased its accounts and gave it new capabilities in the mortgage market. Now, the company is looking to concentrate on reducing customer acquisition costs and building longer-term, multi-channel relationships with customers, it said.