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E*TRADE Forms Joint Venture in Germany

E*TRADE Group Inc. Monday formed a joint venture in Germany to capitalize on growth opportunities in electronic personal finance services.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

E*TRADE (EGRP) said the German venture, which includes Berliner Effektenbank AG and New York Broker Germany AG, is in recognition of the fact that Germany has Europe's most advanced discount brokerage offerings, making it a natural market for expansion.

According to a recent study, online brokerage accounts in Germany are expected to grow from the 200,000 reported at the end of 1998, to about 3 million by 2002.

The new venture is preparing to file for a full banking license, which is the necessary step to begin operating a retail brokerage company in Germany.

"Through this joint venture company, E*TRADE is joining together with its local partners to strengthen its ability to aggressively develop a premiere online personal financial services Web site for the retail market in Germany," said Judy Balint, president and chief operating officer of E*TRADE International.

Founded in 1998, Berliner Effetenbank AG is a publicly listed financial holding company with a concentration on investment banking services, including private banking and corporate finance.

E*TRADE has been busy as of late, forming a joint online bookstore with Amazon.com (AMZN) last week and inking marketing agreements with Yahoo! (YHOO) and ZDNet in August.