National Bank honours its SMEs with the 13th edition of its recognition program “The SMEs of the National Bank”

Montreal, 5 April 2006 - 

National Bank is launching the latest edition of its recognition program “The SMEs of the National Bank,” which gives companies an opportunity to distinguish themselves in the community and raise their visibility.

“This is the thirteenth year that National Bank has been honouring its business clients through this program, which has become a symbol of excellence. It’s a terrific opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their work, highlight their successes and raise their visibility. ‘The SMEs of the National Bank’ allows us to consolidate our relationships with business leaders who have chosen the Bank as their strategic business development partner,” stated Tony Meti, Senior Vice-President – Commercial Banking and International at National Bank.

The program kicks off in each of the National Bank’s administrative regions, where the Bank’s Commercial Banking Managers submit the names of business clients who stand out for their competence, drive and excellence in human resources management. In each region, a jury will asked to determine the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in the following categories: Small Business (up to $3 million in sales), SME ($3 million to $25 million), and Agricultural SME (up to $25 million).

A provincial jury will then be asked to select the grand prize winner in each category from among the regional Gold winners, as well as a fourth company to be named Export SME (up to $25 million). All candidates are initially screened by the professional services firm Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche. Provincial winners will be announced and prizes awarded at an awards ceremony to be held on October 27, 2006.

The provincial winners will benefit from extensive media coverage in major Quebec daily newspapers and on prime-time television, being featured in a special report on their company to be broadcast on the TVA network and LCN. The provincial winners in the Small Business, SME and Agricultural SME categories will also win $2,000 in airline tickets, while the winner in the Export SME category will receive $5,000 in airline tickets, compliments of National Bank Financial. All winning companies will receive a National Bank Premia MasterCard business card with a $1,000 credit balance. Last but not least, there will be draw for three laptops valued at $2,000 each, offered by IBM Canada.

Once again this year, National Bank is proud to be able to count on the invaluable support of such partners as IBM Canada, Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche, the French television network TVA, French language print media La Presse, Le Soleil, Le Nouvelliste, Le Droit, La Tribune, Le Quotidien and La Voix de l’Est, Quebec radio show De la Terre à la Table, as well as National Bank Insurance, National Bank Financial and National Bank MasterCard.

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. 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. National Bank has more than $105 billion in assets and, together with its subsidiaries, employs 16,993 people. The Bank’s securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA:TSX). For more information, visit the Bank’s website atwww.nbc.ca.

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

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