First Union Corp. is investing $19.5 million in an on-line start-up company that offers bulk-rate discounts to small-business customers.

In return for the funding, Charlotte, N.C.-based First Union will receive a 15% equity stake in BrightLane.com and a seat on the company's board. First Union will also be allowed to sell its banking services at the start-up's Web site and refer its small-business customers to the site for discounts on nonbanking products.

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