Net.Bank said it opened 8,000 accounts in the first quarter, bringing its total to 24,634, with $283.6 million of deposits.

The results "greatly surpassed" the Internet bank's goal, said D.R. Grimes, chief executive officer. The company aims to open 2,000 accounts each month this year. Mr. Grimes credited Net.Bank's advertising and unique market position.

Virtual banks such as Net.Bank and Telebanc Financial Corp. say they can offer better interest rates because their overhead is low.

Net.Bank's NetValue checking account is free and pays an annual percentage yield of 3.05%. It includes unlimited on-line bill payments, automated teller machine use, and on-line account access.

The bank earned $4.46 million last year, compared with a loss of $5.58 million in 1997.

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