PITTSBURGH, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- PNC Bank (NYSE: PNC) will offer small businesses an easy-to-use, low-cost E-commerce creation service as the result of an agreement signed today with iCat, a division of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC). PNC Bank will offer the award-winning iCat Commerce Online Service through its corporate web site at www.pncbank.com. The service, named iSites@PNC Bank, will allow business owners to build a distinctive online storefront or to place customized online sales capabilities on their existing Web sites in as little as an hour for an initial fee of $50. Through these sites, business owners can advertise, sell products, track sales and access PNC Bank's distinct customer base through its online mall. "We want to help our customers to distinguish themselves from their competitors and to grow their businesses through a simple entree into the E-commerce marketplace," said Jim Graham, executive vice president of Business Banking for PNC Bank. "We are particularly pleased to be working with Intel's iCat Division because of the company's leadership and experience in providing E-commerce services to small and mid-sized businesses worldwide. With the new iCat service, PNC helps address many of the issues that have kept small business from developing Web sites, including high entry costs, limited technical knowledge and time constraints. For many small businesses, iSites will provide the opportunity to uniquely position their products and enable them to rapidly change in order to beat the competition as well as to expand their markets throughout the country and around the world." "We have helped thousands of small businesses enter the world of E-commerce and have learned what it takes to help them be successful," said Doug Schulze, general manager, iCat. "Building an online store is only step one. Helping merchants drive traffic to their stores and creating sales channels that help their products to be put in front of the most qualified set of eyes is the most important element. PNC Bank's iSites' customers will receive these services while working through a provider that they trust to deliver." PNC has anticipated how e-commerce solutions can revolutionize the way its customers conduct business online and has developed a recognized leadership position in retail banking through its innovative Web-based instant loan approvals and speedy check delivery. The development of iSites@PNC Bank will utilize the company's e-commerce experience to benefit small businesses. To be launched in October, PNC's new service is convenient, affordable and a user-friendly way to develop and manage an Internet site. Business owners who use an outside firm to design their online stores often spend thousands of dollars and are faced with ongoing expensive maintenance costs. With PNC's service, customers pay an initial fee of $50 and an even smaller monthly fee for hosting and maintaining their sites. Customers needing help with their online stores will be able to speak with a merchant support specialist who will guide them through the process. Once completed, the store can be automatically registered with leading Internet search engines. Storeowners can be notified by e-mail when orders for their products have been placed. Additionally, PNC Merchant Services will provide turnkey credit card processing to allow their merchants the ability to receive, authorize, and process credit card orders through their iSites' storefronts 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. The storefronts created by iSites' customers will be hosted by iCat and will be exposed to a number of services to help raise visibility of their stores and products. Store Owners can help to drive traffic to their sites by utilizing a group of services iCat offers to its customers, which include the ability to place banner ads, send e-mail to customers and prospects lists and to create a custom URL. The merchants will also have the option to be included in PNC's new online mall of small businesses, which will be marketed to the bank's 3 million customers. Additionally, merchants who meet a set of criteria will be able to place their products in the upcoming Excite Shopping service, currently scheduled to open in time for the holidays. The E-commerce store creation service is just one of a suite of services PNC Bank offers to small business to support their financing, investment and transactional needs in today's competitive marketplace. PNC's relationship with iCat marks the latest development in the bank's overall electronic commerce strategy to expand Internet delivery of its services and provide Web services to its Business Banking customers. PNC's Web site also features online auto and home equity loan applications with 15-second responses; online bill payment; and access to deposit applications. In alliance with AAA Financial Services, PNC has also created one of the most innovative delivery systems in the country that enables AAA members to pick up their loan checks the same day their applications are approved. About PNC PNC Bank Corp. (www.pncbank.com) headquartered in Pittsburgh (NYSE: PNC), is one of the largest diversified financial services organizations in the United States. Its major businesses include Regional Community Banking, Corporate Banking, PNC Advisors, Mortgage Banking, Secured Lending, Asset Management and Mutual Fund Services. PNC Bank has $75.6 billion in assets. It is the nation's fourth largest private bank manager of high net worth assets, the eighth largest asset-based lending company and the 11th largest servicer of residential mortgages. About iCat iCat, a division of Intel, is a leading provider of E-commerce services for small- to medium-sized businesses. The iCat E-commerce Provider Program was launched in May 1999. The program enables companies to immediately establish their presence as providers of E-commerce services for their own customers without having to shoulder the substantial cost of development. For more information, visit the iCat Web site at www.icat.com. About Intel Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturing of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom. Small business owners seeking more information about this service should e-mail PNC at email@example.com
SOURCE PNC Bank Corp.