Hoping to cash in on a burgeoning small business market as well as a predicted boom in Internet commerce, Fleet Financial Group is offering small business customers packaged software to build commercial Internet sites. Called storefronts fleet, it includes an on-line catalog builder; payments software to facilitate transactions; Web site development and hosting programs; search engine registration; and monthly transaction report generation.

The catalog builder was developed by Cambridge, MA-based Electronic Press Services Group. Netscape's ECXpert is the base platform, on which an Oracle database and CyberCash's payment gateway runs. Merchants pay Fleet a base price of $995 for the software, plus monthly fees ranging from $99 to $249 depending on the number of products. Advanced catalog design is available for $1,500.

The launch of storefronts fleet closely follows the bank's announcement designating 350 of its 1,200 branches as Business Solutions Centers, staffed to meet the needs of small business owners. The product will initially be marketed by existing business bankers and through the Business Solution Centers. "Small business is probably, without overstating it, one of the biggest areas of commitment for Fleet as a company," says Norman DeLuca, managing director of Fleet's business and entrepreneurial services group.

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