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ANZ Bank, Free Net to Offer Free Access to Net Bankers

In a bid to convert more of its customers to Internet banking, the ANZ Bank has announced it will acquire 25 percent of free ISP Free Net Corp. and use its service to provide access to selected customers.

Free Net currently has 30,000 registered users since starting last year. It provides the service to these users and earns an income from offering targetted advertising based on the demographic profiles of its user base.

ANZ will recommend Free Net to selected customers in Sydney and Melbourne (the only cities where Free Net currently operates) prior to a phased rolout across other cities.

As part of the alliance, Free Net will provide ANZ with an ability to grow its market share of Internet customers, while ANZ will promote Free Net to selected customers to speed up customer acquisition and increase retention.

ANZ's managing director of personal e-commerce, Mr Satyendra Chelvendra, said the alliance was central to ANZ's strategy to be a leading provider of online financial services. Free Net CEO Mr Abbas Aly said the alliance is part of its strategy to grow its numbers via affinity programs.

anz.com will market the Free Net service with its other online products such as ANZ Internet Banking, which has more than150,000 registered users, and its recently launched ANZ E*TRADE Online Investing service. Completion of the acquisition is subject to the completion of due diligence by ANZ.