As it becomes easier and more convenient to bank online, small-business owners are increasingly turning to Internet banks to alleviate some of their financial headaches.

Internet-based banks like NetBank are giving traditional banks some fierce competition as more small businesses make the shift to online banking.

“We are extremely pleased with the success of our small-business banking initiative,” said Douglas K. Freeman, chairman and chief executive officer of NetBank Inc. “More and more, small businesses are embracing the Internet and using it to do business better, faster, cheaper.”

Some of the ways in which NetBank makes it easy for small businesses to bank online include providing dedicated relationship managers to each of its clients; a dedicated customer care unit trained to handle the customer’s small-business needs; enhanced account administration features allowing multiple users with different access levels; and a remote deposit system that allows customers to deposit checks into their accounts without leaving the office.

“Small business banking is a natural extension of our services and it represents an excellent growth opportunity for us,” said Bert Davis, director of small business banking for NetBank. “We can provide tremendous value from both a customer service and pricing standpoint, and that’s not something a large number of small-business customers are finding today.”

In addition, NetBank has teamed with Wall Financial Services to provide Web-based accounts receivable lines of credit.

NetBank is also working with MBNA to issue no annual-fee credit cards with a credit line of up to $100,000, while forming a partnership with CompuPay to offer specialized payroll services for small businesses.

Indeed, banking online has streamlined virtually every banking task facing a small-business owner.

“Our own research shows that small-business owners across the country say the Internet is either somewhat important or very important to their business,” Freeman said.

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