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FirstMerit select Surecomp’s front-to-back trade finance solution

Hoboken, New Jersey – May 17, 2004 – Surecomp, a leading provider of trade finance solutions for the wholesale banking industry, announced today that FirstMerit Bank of Akron, Ohio, has licensed Surecomp’s integrated front-to-back office trade finance solution.

FirstMerit, which traces its history back to 1845, is one of the top 60 banks in the U.S., backed by $10.5 billion in assets. The Bank has selected NetIMEX, Surecomp’s Internet-based trade services solution, designed for use by the Bank's corporate and commercial customers, and IBSnet, Surecomp’s SWIFT Ready Gold accredited, back office trade finance product.

FirstMerit joins an increasing number of banks, both in the U.S. and in Europe that have, after a thorough evaluation, opted for the NetIMEX / IBSnet trade finance solution.

FirstMerit serves more than 500,000 customers through 157 offices throughout Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The Bank holds a 25 percent share of the regions fast-growing small and mid-sized business market. FirstMerit’s commitment to the business community is evident in the exceptional levels of service that their wide range of business customers enjoys.

Commenting on the license signing, FirstMerit’s Christina Moinette, Vice President & Manager of the International Division said, "We have long been aware that if we are to offer a complete range of services to our customers and to meet the ambitions of the bank’s management team to view trade finance as a profit center, we needed to implement a contemporary trade finance solution."

"After a thorough evaluation it became apparent that Surecomp’s IBSnet solution was best positioned to deliver value in terms of increased efficiency and reduced transaction costs, while enabling us to leverage growth opportunities without further increases in fixed costs. We also recognized during our reference visits that the addition of an Internet-based front end solution would offer extra value and service to our customers while ensuring that the Bank increased its share of the growing trade finance market."

Offering his congratulations to FirstMerit, Surecomp’s Global Director of Sales and Marketing, Paul Thomas added, "The Bank is aiming to achieve a fast return on it’s investment through the delivery of an "off the shelf" product suite using Surecomp’s proven rapid implementation methodology. The bank is confident of a fast, successful implementation based on Surecomp’s proven track record and experience of installing over 15 U.S. banks of a similar size and business."