Second Wave of E-Commerce: Firm Commitment for the National Bank

Montreal, 9 May 2002 - 

National Bank of Canada (TSX: NA) today announced the signature of a multi-year contract with eScoutSM, a leading e-business services provider, as its second wave of electronic solutions, thereby reaffirming its commitment to make e-commerce a strategic tool for the bank's commercial clients.

National Bank of Canada has adopted a value-added approach by joining forces with eScout, its new supplier of technological solutions. According to Michel Lozeau, senior vice-president of e-commerce at the National Bank, "eScout specializes in e-commerce solutions and is 12 months ahead of its competitors." By doing business with more than 15 major banks and more than 1,200 community banks in North America, eScout reaches more than 22,000 member companies in its business network with a purchasing volume in excess of CDN $275M. "The Bank feels that the Internet offers a high growth potential and therefore wants to stay at the forefront of technology by offering increasingly high-quality solutions to its clients," said Mr. Lozeau.

As it constantly strives to offer the best possible service to its business clients, the Bank has enhanced its electronic product offering by adding new functions. Within a few weeks, billing and payment solutions, electronic auctions and connectivity to internal management systems such as SAP®, Oracle® and PeopleSoft® will be accessible in one integrated product for companies of all sizes. The eScout platform will offer easy navigation, an efficient product search engine and effective supplier catalogue management to businesses served by the Bank. SMEs will benefit from the advantages offered by e-commerce thanks to the Bank's public business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, where suppliers offering general business products will present their catalogues. This easy-to-use, economical and accessible e-solution will give National Bank clients a competitive edge. The eScout platform supports a variety of public and private marketplaces in Canada and integrates master agreements signed between a company and its suppliers.

Companies will not have to manage the complex IT systems necessary to conduct e-commerce, as only an Internet browser is required to access the National Bank eScout MarketPlace. Through outsourcing, the Bank offers turnkey solutions in a secure environment that meets the highest banking industry standards. Specifically, through its ClicCommerce subsidiary, officially launched in October 2001, the National Bank can supply B2B e-commerce and e-procurement solutions. With this second wave, the Bank is proud to roll out integrated solutions.

This marks the second significant bank alliance in Canada for eScout, which first came to Canada nearly one year ago in a partnership with Bank of Montreal (TSE, NYSE:BMO). Mr. Sandy Kemper, founder and CEO of eScout said: "We are extraordinarily pleased to partner with such a fine financial institution. National Bank was ahead of its time when it created ClicCommerce, and with today's alliance, is charting a future course for its clients large and small. The addition of National Bank to our network means more Canadian businesses will have access to one of the most successful business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces in North America."

About ClicCommerce
A member of the National Bank financial group, ClicCommerce is a company specialized in e-commerce. It offers a wide selection of made-to-measure electronic solutions to companies throughout Canada. Created in 2000, ClicCommerce now has more than 1,000 buyers registered in its B2B marketplace.

About National Bank of Canada
National Bank of Canada is an integrated group which provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering specialized services to its clients elsewhere in the world. The National Bank has assets of over $75 billion and, together with its subsidiaries, it employs more than 17,000 people. The Bank's shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange.

About eScout
eScoutSM is a leading e-business services provider and marketplaces operator offering an array of hosted e-commerce, purchasing, billing and payment solutions. eScout provides increased operational efficiencies, reduced costs and managed business processes for its clients. eScout powers more than 100 distinct public and private marketplaces and has created an international network of 1,300 banks to help distribute its products and services. eScout's investors include: Mayfield Fund; Oak Hill Venture Partners, L.P.; Citizens Financial Group, Inc.; Harris Bank (NYSE:BMO); Golden State Bancorp Inc. (NYSE:GSB); Bank of Montreal (TSE, NYSE: BMO) and Commerce One (Nasdaq:CMRC). eScout is headquartered at 850 NW Chipman Road, Lee's Summit, Missouri 64063. Visit or call 1-888-SCOUT4U for more information.

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For more information (the telephone numbers and e-mail addresses are for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives ) :

Carole Gagné
Senior Manager
Public Relations Department
National Bank of Canada
(514) 394-6991

Christine Kemper
Corporate Communications
(816) 448-4432