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Bank of Scotland, BT Launch Online Banking Portal

[May 29] Bank of Scotland and BT announced Monday the U.K's first online banking and communications portal for small and medium-sized businesses.

The new site, named Business Solutions, can be found at totalbusinessonline.co.uk. Entirely free of subscription charges, it is intended to keep Bank of Scotland and BT at the forefront of the potentially lucrative SME market.

Among the services available at the new site are direct business banking with interest-bearing online checking accounts, overdraft facilities, asset finance, business insurance, debt recovery and cash flow finance.

Customers who take up financial offers will earn a free upgrade of their Internet connections from an existing PSTN line to the ISDN-based BT Business Highway.

Colin Matthew, Bank of Scotland's chief executive of Business Banking said that business owners are crying out for information about the Internet and how to use it to their advantage.

"The package of services available from Business Solutions today -- and those planned for the future -- will not only save business owners time in running their businesses but will also help them make that vital leap to trading via the Internet."

At Business Solutions users will be able to purchase online training and development packages for SMEs from iLearn.To, with unlimited access to 400 courses at a special price of £122.50 ($182) per year.

Mike Langston, director of BT Small & Medium Enterprises, said the ultimate aim was to provide a complete package of business solutions.

"The facilities that we are developing will provide an integrated one-stop package for SMEs which will help them at every stage of their e-business development," said Langston.

Other features on Business Solutions are links to the advice, news and information site Bizwise.co.uk, together with business travel services from travelstore.com. From the latter, users can gain access to specially negotiated rates, normally made available only to large companies.

Bank of Scotland and BT say they are planning additional facilities, including an online Business Healthcheck service that will let users assess the strengths and weaknesses of their business. Another facility for the future will be an online accounting package to help manage accounts and finances.



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