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INTERNATIONAL BYTES

CLS Bank signs four major European Banks; RHB Bank Berhad uses Corillian's e-finance software to boost its online banking services; Dresdner bank AG agrees to pilot Document Clearance Center technology from CCEWeb Corp.; AEGON unveils a virtual banking package from Financial Objectives.

Five major overseas banks have agreed to become shareholders in CLS Services Inc., an entity that aims to provide a new global infrastructure for multi-currency payment clearing and settlement services.

CLS Services, through its subsidiary CLS Bank, will use continuous linked settlement technology to make a substantial reduction in the risks of FX settlement worldwide, and hopefully initiate simultaneous cross currency settlement. The bank will initially link real time gross settlement systems operated by Central Banks in seven countries, with the goal of overcoming differences in time zones, legal jurisdictions and operating procedures. This should remove currency delays and allow member banks greater flexibility in managing global liquidity.

The five new member banks are Bank Intesa of Italy, Banco Popular Espanol, Dexia Banque Internationale Luxembourg, Sumitomo Bank of Japan and Z¼rcher Katonalbank of Switzerland. With these banks, CLS Bank now has 61 member financial institutions from 16 different countries.

"The fact that five more leading banking groups have decided to become shareholders in CLS Services underlies the breadth and strength of support for CLS within the global banking community," said Joseph de Feo, CEO of CLS Services and president of CLS Bank.

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RHB Bank Berhad, one of Malaysia's largest commercial banks, has chosen the Voyager Internet banking platform from Oregon-based Corillian Corp. to enhance its online banking services.

Corillian's Voyager will allow RHB to handle large volumes of customer traffic and offer its patrons personalized financial management, portal facilities and one-to-one marketing communication.

"We will reach out to out customers in an integrated manner combining the high volume processing capabilities of our core banking technologies with advanced customer-friendly Web functionalities," said Yvonne Chia, managing director of RHB Bank.

The RHB deal is the first in Asia for Corillian.

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Dresdener Bank AG, Frankfurt, has agreed to be the pilot site for CCEWeb Group's Document Clearance Center (DCC), a system that streamlines the processing of electronic documentary credits.

The DCC is part of @GlobalTrade Secure Payment and Trade Management system, which makes it possible for a documentary credit to be issued over the Internet anywhere in the world.

"Leading market research companies predict that the number of B2B deals completed electronically will grow substantially in the next few years," said Carlos Gsmez-Saez of CCE Web. "Companies are facing the prospect of new markets, with buyers and sellers unknown to one another standing in need of safe contract completion in terms of delivery of goods and payments."

The pilot will run from April to August, and include all parties involved with trade transactions including buyers, sellers, carriers, freight forwarders and customs brokers.

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AEGON, one of the world's largest insurers, has implemented ActiveBank e, a multi-channel, component-based, virtual banking application for the e-finance marketplace provided by London-based Financial Objectives.

Activebank e provides front-to-back office banking capabilities for The Netherlands-based AGEON, which in turn allows the company offer retail and investment services to its clients.

"ActiveBank e gives us a flexible and scalable solution which enables the bank to market a variety of savings and investment products through our business units," said Rob Scholte of AEGON.

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