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Excite in $125 million banking deal

The Net directory is expected to announce an online banking service deal with Bank One valued at $125 million.

Excite will announce a deal worth as much as $125 million with Bank One, the fifth-largest bank in the nation, to create an online banking center, according to a source.

Under the multi-year agreement, Excite will offer a new financial center and personalized banking and bill-payment services, while Bank One will get exclusive rights to market its services on the Net directory's home page. The service is expected to launch during the first half of 1999.

"We don't comment on rumors or speculation," an Excite spokeswoman said, declining to discuss the announcement further.

The Net directory will offer access to customers' Bank One checking and savings accounts and allow online bill paying capabilities. Customers are expected to be able to apply for credit cards, home or car loans, and buy insurance on the Internet.

Eventually Bank One intends to offer services from other financial institutions, according to the source.

The deal comes on the heels of another blockbuster online banking agreement between Microsoft's web portal and First USA, a business unit of Bank One. The five-year, $90 million agreement gives First USA exclusive rights to advertise its credit cards on

Bank One, with $235 billion in assets, is the nation's largest credit card lender.

In May, Excite and MasterCard formed an alliance to promote Internet sales when MasterCard sponsored the Net directory's shopping channel.