Just in time for Christmas, Citibank is offering free laptop computers or electronic organizers to small-business customers with large account balances.

The promotion is designed to attract loan customers, reward loyal Citibank depositors, and increase use of the bank's computer banking service, a spokesman said.

Citibank's offer is part of a spree of bank promotions of small-business services in the New York market. Other banks have streamlined their credit application forms or offered low introductory rates.

To get a laptop computer, a customer must have a business credit account of more than $100,000 or maintain an average balance exceeding $125,000 in a deposit account for six months.

Small-business customers must maintain average deposit account balances of at least $25,000 to qualify for the electronic organizer.

Customers can enroll in the program before Dec. 31, but existing customers must add $100,000 to their account balances for the computer or $25,000 for the organizer, even if they already have the qualifying balances.

The laptop computer will have eight megabytes of memory and be loaded with software needed to use Citibank's PC banking service.

The bank began offering laptop computers with credit lines last spring and gave away a "significant number," the spokesman said. It extended the promotion to deposit accounts in November.

Citibank would not disclose the cost or the numbers of computers and electronic organizers it plans to give away.

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