IBM Launches New Financing Program Tailored to Small and Medium Businesses Worldwide

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ARMONK, NY - 03 Feb 2005: IBM today announced the global launch of IBM Financing Advantage, a new financing program for IBM sales representatives and Business Partners that will make IT financing simpler, faster, and more responsive for their small and medium business (SMB) clients.

IBM sales reps and Business Partners can now offer their SMB clients tailored, easy-to-understand contracts that respond to the unique and changing needs of their business. IBM Financing Advantage will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US for deals involving IBM or non-IBM hardware, software or services. The new program offers competitive rates, a simple rate structure, and a credit approval process so fast that, in most cases, contracts are delivered within one hour for deals up to $300,000. Other components of IBM Financing Advantage include Client Pre-approval, and AutoQuote, processes that empower IBM sales reps and Business Partners to lead with financing and close deals.

Unlike larger companies, SMBs are more cash and capital constrained. An option to lease or finance can help overcome those constraints and enable them to acquire more IT at affordable monthly rates. IBM Financing Advantage can help SMB clients lower their total cost of ownership, preserve credit and cash for strategic investments, and increase their flexibility in the marketplace. IBM Financing Advantage leasing options can also help SMB clients eliminate hardware obsolescence and equipment disposal issues. By financing with IBM, SMBs get expert advice and assistance from the IT industry's top financing resource. They also get a partner throughout the lifecycle of their technology investment.

Similarly, the IBM Financing Advantage program offers multiple benefits to IBM Business Partners. It can improve their cash flow by helping them more quickly close deals. It can help maximize their profit potential by giving them direct access to the industry's most competitive rates. Finally, it provides a competitive advantage, helping Business Partners boost client satisfaction and client retention.

"Our IBM sales force and Business Partners around the world gave us a clear mandate: 'make it simpler and faster to use financing to help our SMB clients acquire all of the technology they need,'" said Kevin Quarantello, vice president, worldwide small and medium business financing, IBM Global Financing. "It could normally take weeks for SMBs to get credit approval, but with IBM Financing Advantage, the process is nearly instantaneous."

"This strategy will be a way of adding value through improved efficiencies for both companies while building a stronger business relationship at the same time," said Gary Huff, CFO, Mainline Information Systems, an IBM Business Partner. "The changes are good examples of timely and value-added improvements in processes, not only for IBM and Mainline, but also for our clients."

"IGF is clearly positioning itself to overtake the competition in the SMB space. Avnet and our partners have already seen significant improvement in speed, ease and contract turnaround in one hour or less," said Lisa Friesenhahn, Director of Leasing, Avnet Partner Solutions. "We have won deals that never would have closed without this program."

IBM Financing Advantage will be a part of the IBM Express portfolio of hardware, software, service, and financing offerings designed, developed, and priced to meet the specific needs of clients in the SMB marketplace.

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Hardware leasing, software and services financing, commercial financing, inventory, accounts receivable, term loans, acquisition financing