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IBM, Banca CR Firenze in Deal to Provide Italian Bank With New IT Infrastructure and Business Consulting to Support Full Branch Transformation

Business Transformation Project Aims to Lower Costs, Enhance Sales and Provide New Platform for Future Competitiveness

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FLORENCE - MILAN, ITALY - 12 Jul 2006: Banca CR Firenze Group and IBM today announced a two-year deal to transform the bank's existing business model via an internet-based IT platform that will provide the bank with unprecedented flexibility and competitiveness. The agreement builds on an existing seven-year contract between the two companies.

Banca CR Firenze is a leader in the Italian banking industry in adopting new information technology. It was the first Italian bank to establish its own website and to offer interactive TV banking on the Digital Terrestrial Television. The new IT backbone the bank is designing will be built using services-oriented architecture -- a Web-based platform that blends numerous data sources and sales channels (Web, call-center, etc) for maximum flexibility and cost effectiveness. The new platform is designed to give Banca CR Firenze the ability to more quickly roll out new products in a matter of days instead of months and to more easily comply with an ever-shifting regulatory landscape.

"This agreement is an important part of our bank's growth strategy," said Massimo Basso Ricci, Deputy General Manager Banca CR Firenze. "As we look to grow our business in the next few years, we realized we needed a new infrastructure for business development. IBM is helping us build a very competitive platform for our future growth."

"IBM's expertise with services-oriented architecture will allow the bank to more quickly accomplish a business reformation that up until a few years ago was not possible," said Cesare Bollini, Director of Financial Services Sector IBM Italy. "The new platform not only lowers operating costs for the bank, but will allow it to grow revenues by providing better customer service and more targeted sales campaigns. That is a key benefit of integrating sales-channel data and computing resources onto a single system that is used by all bank divisions from credit cards to mortgages."

The agreement also includes facility and desktop management services and the management of all the IT systems for Banca CR Firenze's branches.

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