CINCINNATI - Fifth Third Corp. has become the latest banking company to enter the emerging business of Internet-based foreign exchange trading.

The company said Wednesday its new FX Internet Trading Web site went live about a month ago and the company expects to have roughly 400 customers using it by yearend. The site, which currently operates during business hours, will switch to a 24-hour format in early 2001.

The new platform, geared toward Fifth Third's corporate customers, will offer real-time exchange rates for more than 40 currencies, detailed foreign exchange reporting, and other features, said Shari Kempf, vice president and chief foreign exchange trader.

"Our goal is to provide our corporate customers with the ability to execute foreign exchange whenever they want, wherever they want," Ms. Kempf said.

In December, First Union Securities, a subsidiary of First Union Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., began offering the service through the company's Web site. Last June, Chicago-based Northern Trust Co. introduced its Web-based foreign exchange system.

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