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Yahoo, AOL bank on Spanish speakers

The Web giant and Bank of America join forces on a Spanish-language banking site in another sign of growing Internet business interest in Hispanic-American consumers.

Yahoo and Bank of America are jointly launching a banking site on Yahoo en Español, marking the latest effort by an Internet leader and its partners to mine the lucrative Spanish-speaking market.

Under the arrangement, announced Tuesday, Bank of America provides financial information in Spanish to Yahoo's Hispanic audience in the United States. Other Web sites, such as America Online, have also recently stepped up efforts to tap the pocketbooks of Hispanic-American consumers.

The Centro Bancario site gives visitors information on Bank of America's checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposits and mortgages, and also offers online banking. That new site is housed in the finance section of Yahoo en Español, a Yahoo section designed for a Hispanic-American audience.

"Yahoo en Español is committed to offering our consumers the financial tools and services they need and want in their everyday lives," said Jorge Consuegra, Yahoo en Espanol general manager.

Hispanic Americans comprise the largest minority group in the United States. Roughly one-third of such adults have made Internet purchases in the past year, according to a March report by Arbitron, a media and marketing research firm.

AOL is another Internet giant keenly aware of the size and growth potential of the Spanish-speaking U.S. market. It announced earlier this month it would expand its advertising agreement with Spanish-language media giant Univision, which reaches about 97 percent of Hispanic households in the U.S. through its television broadcast network.