TORONTO December 10, 2001 According to a recent press release, the Bank of Montreal has officially launched its Bank of Montreal Online Marketplace, which aims at providing its business customers with an easy-to-navigate electronic service to meet their procurement, information, administrative, reporting and processing needs. eScout, an e-business services provider, is the first offering in the Marketplace with its online purchasing system, accessible through www.bmo.com/escout. As the Marketplace evolves, additional products, such as auction, tendering, and region-specific services will be added.
"Small businesses in particular are feeling the brunt of these tough economic times. The Bank of Montreal Online Marketplace will help ease the impact by offering products and services that will enable our customers to cut costs, while reaping the benefits of doing business online," said Marnie Kinsley, Executive Vice-President, E-Business, Bank of Montreal. "No matter how big or small, customers can benefit from having access to a wide range of products and resources via a single web site in addition to a variety of discounts and promotions that will be offered on an ongoing basis."
To encourage Canadian businesses to try the Bank of Montreal Online Marketplace, the eScout service will be offered free until October 31, 2002. After that date, a yearly membership fee of $49.95 plus tax will enable full access to this eScout service for up to three users per company. As an additional incentive to try out the service now, customers that spend $100.00 or more on their first purchase will receive a $25.00 rebate. The promotion will run until April 30, 2002.
Today's announcement follows two programs the bank recently launched for its small business customers, including a quarter percent interest credit on prime rate based operating loans and lines of credit and a rate sale at prime on small business loans and lines of credit.
"We are pleased to have such a strong supporter of small and mid-size businesses partner with eScout to deliver efficiencies of time and money to companies on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border," said Sandy Kemper, founder and CEO of eScout. "The next step will be to bring new opportunities for U.S. and Canadian member companies to buy and sell goods and services with each other."
In addition to a multi-year licensing fee, Bank of Montreal has committed to invest CDN$10.8 million in eScout. Charles N. Piermarini, Senior Vice President of Venture Creation for Bank of Montreal, has joined eScout's Board of Directors.