EScout of Kansas City, MO, has signed a deal with Bank of Montreal to make the eScout online buying and selling network available to Canadian businesses. Bank of Montreal will offer free access to eScout`s business-to-business marketplace to its 440,000 commercial customers. Bank of Montreal also invested $7 million in eScout.
In the United States, more than 75,000 buyers and 100 suppliers buy and sell goods and services online with eScout, the company reports.
Bank of Montreal will start to roll the service out to customers in southwestern Ontario. The full launch to all commercial customers will take place in early 2002. Customers will have free access to make online purchases of items such as office supplies and computer equipment.
eScout`s U.S. network of 1,300 regional and community banks represents 15% of American banks. Those banks serve more than 2.5 million independent businesses. Each bank in the eScout alliance sponsors buyers and sellers into the eScout marketplaces. Today, 17,000 businesses and 75,000 buyers form eScout`s online network, where companies transact business through more than 100 eScout-powered private exchanges.
"Our investment in eScout is consistent with our strategy to create new e-businesses in high-growth, high-return areas,” said Marnie Kinsley, executive vice president, e-business, Bank of Montreal.