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New President & COO for Banque Directe

The BNP Paribas Group plans to rapidly expand Banque Directe, its subsidiary and France's leading online retail bank. Expansion will be driven primarily by the product portfolio of BNP Paribas, which it offers through market leaders like Cetelem in consumer loans and Cortal in online brokerage.

Banque Directe now has the backing of BNP Paribas, which leads the euro zone in earnings with banking locations in over 80 countries. Banque Directe offers quality selfbanking service (checking, loans, securities trading, financial savings and other services) over the Internet and telephone with experienced advisors on call 24 hours a day at a very competitive price, according to a number of studies by consumer groups. The Internet boom has accelerated Banque Directe's growth: Today Banque Directe has 70,000 customers, and over 50% of its customer transactions take place on the Web.

Jacques Lanoë will step down on June 1, 2000 as Banque Directe's President and Chief Operating Officer, a position he has held since March 1996, to join BNP Paribas's Internet division, established on March 8, 2000 and headed by Jacques Campagne-Ibarcq. Banque Directe's accomplishments under Mr. Lanoë's leadership include its outstanding new computer architecture, which has enabled Banque Directe to become the leading all-Internet bank with one of the most advanced consumer websites on the French market.

Jean-Bernard Lafonta will be appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Banque Directe on June 1, 2000. He has been Director of Fixed-Income and Foreign Exchange Markets since 1997, and Director of Strategy prior to that, at BNP. Mr. Lafonta will put his management and partnership-building experience to work, to achieve the aggressive expansion goals set for Banque Directe by the BNP Paribas Group.

Bernard Auberger continues to serve as Banque Directe's Chairman, as he has from the beginning.