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Bank of Montreal, NewSys to Provide Online Business Centers

[Toronto, CANADA] Bank of Montreal and NewSys Solutions Inc., an Ottawa-based information and communications company, will launch Internet business centers for small and mid-sized companies across Canada.

Bank of Montreal is to pay set up fees and licensing fees to NewSys on terms to be finalized. As a feature of the agreement, NewSys will grant to Bank of Montreal the option to purchase 500,000 common shares of NewSys, at market price, subject to regulatory approval.

Under the agreement NewSys' wholly-owned subsidiary InBusiness.com Inc., will own and operate regional online business centers customized for Bank of Montreal and the bank's business client base, comprising more than 450,000 businesses.

Bank of Montreal and InBusiness.com expect to introduce the first BMO business center this fall, on a pilot basis, in Ottawa, with other regional business centers to follow shortly.

The centers will provide: e-news services customized to Bank of Montreal's small and mid-sized business customers; online business services for independent businesses; reference and self-help materials; applications and business planning tools; e-commerce transaction fulfillment; local information, such as news, online business services, business directories and journal articles on business topics.

"Our customers are telling us they look for local information on the Internet, and these sites deliver that," said Frank Techar, Senior vice-president, Small Business Banking, Bank of Montreal. Customers will be able to click through to the bank's site and use options, including business loans, bidding for contracts, online billing and online investing, according to Techar.

In addition to operating private-labeled business centers for Bank of Montreal, InBusiness.com will offer selected financial and e-services from the bank at all of the InBusiness.com public business centers, such as ottawabusinesscentre.com, scheduled to open this month.



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