National Bank joins CLS for foreign exchange transactions (FX)

Montreal, 8 December 2004 - 

National Bank recently joined CLS (Continuous Linked Settlement), an international organization that acts as a clearing agent for the settlement of foreign exchange transactions.

CLS allows financial institutions that carry out foreign exchange transactions (FX) to minimize the risk of non-payment of these transactions. “Because CLS eliminates settlement risk, it has become a vital partner for the banking industry. National Bank is the second Canadian bank to join CLS,” noted Vincent Butkiewicz, Vice-President – Financial Markets at National Bank.

The benefits of CLS settlement process are shared by all participants, directly or indirectly involved in CLS. As a third party, National Bank has signed a service agreement with Société Générale in France, which will process payments through CLS on its behalf. In joining CLS, National Bank is following in the footsteps of leading financial institutions the world over.

About the 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 offers a full array of banking services, including retail, corporate and investment banking. It is an active player on international capital markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. The National Bank has assets close to $89 billion and, together with its subsidiaries, employs close to 16,500 people. The Bank's securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA:TSX). For more information, visit the Bank's website at
www.nbc.ca.

Information: (The telephone number provided below is for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives.)

Denis Dubé
Manager - Public Relations Department
National Bank of Canada
Tel.: (514) 394-8644