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MeritaNordbanken Group launched on October 18 the world's first WAP banking services

MeritaNordbanken customers are the first in the world to handle their banking business via WAP phones. Merita customers in Finland can access the WAP service immediately using their existing Solo identification codes. In Sweden, WAP banking will be available in the first half of 2000.

The mobile banking services have been developed jointly by MeritaNordbanken and Nokia, the world's leading supplier of mobile phones. The services function on phones following the WAP 1.1 standard i.a. Nokia 7110 mobile phone and Ericsson's MC218 PDA.

Thanks to the WAP banking service, the bank is now accessible to its customers where ever they are. A WAP terminal can be used for following account and credit card transactions, account-to-account transfers, bill payments, customer mail and reading short news items from the bank. It also enables shopping at MeritaNordbanken's virtual marketplace, the Solo Mall, already familiar to Internet banking customers. Stock trading will be the next service to be made available via WAP phones.

All these services will be free of charge until the end of February 2000. Thereafter a monthly charge of FIM 4.00 will be introduced. In addition to this the user will always pay the data connections fee for his connection to Merita's address charged by telecommunication operators.

The phenomenal success of MeritaNordbanken's Solo electronic services is based on easy use and the constantly growing range of products and access channels available. A phone providing access to such a wide range of banking facilities is highly useful for its users. The threshold is low as the routines are already familiar to users of Solo electronic banking service. With a terminal equiped with WAP capabilities, customers have a superior range of access channels. They can log on to the service any time anywhere in the world.

Finland and Sweden have the world's highest mobile phone penetration rate: in Finland more than 60 per cent and in Sweden 50 per cent. The bank believes that mobile solutions will become an increasingly popular channel for banking and electronic commerce.

MeritaNordbanken is clearly Europe's leading bank group in network banking. The introduction of WAP banking facilities further strengthens its position as a trend-setter and leader of service development. MeritaNordbanken has a total of 840,000 Internet customers with user identification codes set to activate also WAP phone access. The aim is to bring the number of Internet customers to more than one million by the end of this year. Services through data networks began in 1982 with automatic telephone payments and were expanded to PC services in 1984, GSM in 1992, the Internet in 1996 and TV in 1998.

In July, MeritaNordbanken was the first banking group to be accepted as a member of the WAP Forum, in which Nokia is a founding member.

MeritaNordbanken, the leading bank group in the Nordic region, provides a broad spectrum of financial products and services to more than 6.5 million private individuals and 400,000 companies and institutions. The Group's service network comprises some 800 branch offices in Finland and Sweden, over 1,000 Swedish post offices and a wide range of effective telephone and Internet banking facilities. More than a million customers use the Group's electric banking services. Household savings under management total almost EUR 45 billion. Outside the Nordic region, the Group has a presence in 19 countries. The two holding companies, Merita Plc and Nordbanken Holding AB (publ), are listed in Helsinki and Stockholm, respectively.

Further information and the address to the Solo services for the WAP phone www.merita.fi (http://meriweb.mb.fi/e/). You can contact the service by making a data call by your WAP phone to Merita's address. The address must be set in the service data of your phone before the first connection. You can familiarize yourself with the service by using our test codes, customer number 123456 and password 1111. Payments entered under test codes will not be processed.

For further information, please contact:
Sirkka Wright
Vice President
Electronic Banking Services
MeritaNordbanken Group
tel.: +358 9 165 25861, mobile phone: +358 50 3509715
telefax: +358 9 165 25144
e-mail: [email protected]

Ari Myllylä
Project manager
Network banking systems
MeritaNordbanken Group
tel.: +358 9 165 25487, mobile phone: +358 50 324 1213
telefax: +358 9 163 25487
e-mail: [email protected]