A new Internet company may become a central part of some big banks' efforts to beef up their services to small-business customers.

Large banks are eyeing the small- and midsize-business market more closely these days, in anticipation of the ramped-up efforts by new competitors such as American Express Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. and by their stiffest competitors in this market: local banks. FleetBoston Financial Corp. is set to test an offering in collaboration with a one-year-old Silicon Valley company, Biztro, which is positioning itself as the soup-to-nuts company for small businesses.

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