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North America Bytes

Merchants Bank to use marketing CRM product from Proscape Technologies to power CommerceLYNX Business Banking offering; FirstService Bank chooses Raymond James Financial Services to provide full-service investment programs; Countrywide Credit Industries to standardize its customer and employee-facing operations to Siebel 7; National City Corporation subsidiary forms strategic relationship with InsureZone.

Merchants Bank, Vermont, will use MSE Encyclopedia from Proscape Technologies, a Fort Washington, Pa.-based CRM producer, to launch its CommerceLYNX Business Banking offering.

Proscape's Encyclopedia will allow Merchants Bank to streamline disparate sales, marketing and product information into an online information hub that can be accessed by bank staff and customers "anywhere, anytime" through the Web. These capabilities maximize sales performance and enhance customer relationships by equipping Merchants Bank personnel in each of their 34 branches with up-to-the-minute CommerceLYNX information, individualized for each business customer or prospect. This functionality will ensure consistent branding and collateral accuracy, while increasing efficiency and productivity, and reducing operational costs.

"At Merchants Bank, our goal is to provide business customers with the exact products and services they need to manage their financial futures. Maximizing our proficiency in delivering superior customer service is an essential business priority, which is why we needed the best MSE tools available on the market today," said Thomas Leavitt, senior vice president of Merchants Bank. "Proscape's experience and proven results within the banking community drove us to select its Encyclopedia solution to help us launch our new CommerceLYNX product. Further, the ease of implementation and deployment of Proscape's technology means that we will be fully prepared in advance of our 90-day timetable."

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FirstService Bank, Doylestown, Pa., has chosen Raymond James Financial Services, FID Inc. (RJFS) to provide full-service investment programs to its Investment Services department.

Raymond James' programs and resources that will be available through FirstService Bank include: financial planning programs and support, non-proprietary products, client-approved mutual fund research, comprehensive insurance and annuity services, portfolio management, trust and estate planning, investment banking and public finance, retirement-plan consulting, multiple fee-based accounts, extensive equity research, corporate, government and municipal bond inventories, self-clearing order execution services, online trading, continuing education and training, investment due diligence and selection, comprehensive confirmations and statements, and account access for clients via the Internet.

"FirstService Bank is a true community bank driven by customer service and satisfaction, a concept that has become lost in the era of megabank mergers," said John C. Spier, president and CEO of FirstService Bank. "We are affirming our commitment to customer service by selecting Raymond James Financial Services to handle the investment service needs of our clients. We selected Raymond James based on their comprehensive portfolio of products and services in the industry and their outstanding track record for personal client service."

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Countrywide Credit Industries, Inc., a diversified financial services provider, begun the process of standardization for its customer and employee-facing operations on Siebel Systems' Siebel 7

After extensive evaluation and research, Countrywide chose Siebel eFinance Call Center and Siebel Employee Relationship Management (ERM) applications as a value-added supplement to its robust home grown technology environment. In accordance with Countrywide's long-standing goal of achieving the greatest technological efficiency, Siebel 7 will be used to further enhance Countrywide's customer service and sales activities, while improving productivity and streamlining employee communications.

"Award-winning technology has played a key role in the successful evolution of Countrywide into a comprehensive diversified financial services provider," said Richard Jones, managing director and CTO at Countrywide. "Already ranked number one in customer satisfaction among the largest national home mortgage lenders by J.D. Power and Associates, our agreement with Siebel Systems reinforces our ongoing commitment to provide the highest level of customer service across all product lines and channels of communication."

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National City Insurance Group, Inc. (NCIG), a subsidiary of Cleveland-based National City Corporation, has formed a strategic relationship with InsureZone, the nationwide "clicks and mortar" insurance agency that enables the purchase of small commercial insurance through agents, brokers, banks and Web portals.

The agreement designates InsureZone to provide access to insurance products designed for small businesses. Customers in most risk classes will be able to obtain multiple quotes and binding in a single business day for Businessowners Policy (BOP), Workers' Compensation, Commercial Auto, Umbrella and a variety of other small commercial products. The policies are underwritten by "A" rated national carriers such as AIG, Chubb, CNA, The Hartford, Kemper, SAFECO and Zurich North America Small Business.

"We're very pleased to be working with InsureZone to give our small business customers access to hundreds of classes and coverages from the leading companies in the commercial property and casualty field," said Russ Miller, vice president of NCIG. "This insurance offering is an essential part of our overall effort to give small business customers a comprehensive solution to their financial needs."

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