Providian provides loans and credit cards to more than 8 million customers and intends to use the acquisition to expand its business across the Internet. GetSmart.com, which has relationships with more than 100 lenders, will remain a standalone site.
In joining Providian, which has $14 billion in assets, GetSmart.com gains the financial strength and marketing expertise necessary to continue its rapid growth, GetSmart chief operating office Stephen Semprevivo said in a statement.
According to Zona Research, Providian's move underscores the need for larger financial firms to buy into a long-term Internet strategy. The acquisition made sense now, Zona said, before GetSmart.com grew too large.