NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA

NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA

March 16, 2005 10:00 ET

National Bank of Canada Launches a New Mortgage Solution: The Breathe Easy Option


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: NATIONAL BANK OF CANADA

TSX SYMBOL: NA

MARCH 16, 2005 - 10:00 ET

National Bank of Canada Launches a New Mortgage
Solution: The Breathe Easy Option

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - March 16, 2005) - National Bank
(TSX:NA) is proposing a new mortgage solution for people in need of a
financial breather. The new Breathe Easy Option is intended to ease the
financial burden associated with certain family obligations by allowing
customers to defer their mortgage payments for up to six months.

With the Breathe Easy Option, customers with a 5-year mortgage at the
Bank can benefit from a penalty-free payment holiday (interest and
principal) for a period of up to six months. What's more, the amount of
the payment will remain unchanged throughout the current term of the
mortgage and the interest on the deferred payments will instead be added
to the principal balance. The Breathe Easy Option can be used, for
instance, by individuals on maternity leave, between jobs or in the
position of having to care for an ailing loved one.

"National Bank is the only financial institution in Quebec to offer up
to six months' reprieve. The new option will give our customers some
breathing space at a time in their lives when they need more financial
flexibility and latitude," said Jean Blouin, National Bank's
Vice-President - Retail Credit and Investment Solutions.

The Breathe Easy Option is a perfect example of National Bank's
unflagging efforts to offer a wide range of financing methods and
options responsive to the changing lives of its customers.

About National Bank

National Bank of Canada is an integrated group which provides
comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized
enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering
specialized services to its customers elsewhere in the world. National
Bank offers a full array of banking services, including corporate and
investment banking. It is an active player on international capital
markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities
brokerage, insurance and wealth management, as well as mutual fund and
retirement plan management. National Bank has more than $90 billion in
assets and, together with its subsidiaries, employs close to 17,000
people. The Bank's securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange
(NA: TSX). For more information, visit the Bank's website at www.nbc.ca.

Information (the telephone number and e-mail address provided below are
for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives).

-30-

Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    National Bank of Canada
    Denis Dube
    Director, Public Relations
    (514) 394-8644