Excite to gain $125m from bank deal

Bank One is to announce a financial services partnership today with Excite that could bring more than $125 million to the Internet hub.

The bank plans to create a financial services centre, linked to the Excite home page, with banking services for customers of Bank One and others. Bank One will get the exclusive rights to market banking services on the Excite home page, while Excite hopes to draw Bank One customers to its array of free features.

The deal is performance-based -- revenues realised by Excite depend on the number of customers who sign up for Bank One services through the web site.

Excite CEO George Bell described the deal as "one of the largest marketing, advertising and distribution agreements Excite has ever reached." His company draws more than 17 million users a month, according to internet analysts, RelevantKnowledge.

Bank One has made the Internet a key part of a recent marketing push, which Bank One Retail Group chairman Kenneth T. Stevens said characterises a drive to make big banking a personal experience. "Users who begin their day at their own personalised front page at Excite will be able, through Bank One, to address nearly all their banking needs on the Internet," he said.

The bank claims to be the largest provider of credit cards online, and the fourth-largest provider of online banking services based on number of customers. First USA, owned by Bank One, recently signed a pact to become Excite's sole credit-card provider. First USA also recently signed a $90 million, five-year advertising deal with the Microsoft Network.

Bank One said it will roll out the financial service early next year, with services for non-Bank One customers planned for later.

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