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GetSmart.com Purchased By Providian Financial

San Francisco-based Internet loan site GetSmart.com said its board of directors has approved the sale of the company to Providian Financial Corp.

Reuters said the deal was valued at $33 million.

Founded in 1996 by Bill Fisher, a former executive of Wells Fargo Bank, GetSmart.com is a marketplace for consumer and business loans, with more than 8 million visits in 1998.

Fisher described the transaction as mutually beneficial.

"The partnership with Providian will expand the value GetSmart offers both to consumers and business partners," he said. "Providian's deep resources and long-term commitment ensure that GetSmart will maintain its commanding position in the increasingly competitive online credit world. Providian leaps to the future of lending by acquiring a premier Internet brand."

Providian plans to keep the GetSmart.com as a stand-alone entity. GetSmart Senior Vice President James Rowe will stay at the helm, and will also head Providian's new online commerce unit.

Fisher said he intends to continue pioneering in the world of e-commerce.