In an ambitious effort to become a dominant force in residential lending, Chase Manhattan Bank is acquiring American Residential Holding Corp., a leading mortgage bank based in La Jolla, Calif., for $348 million in cash, or $28.25 a share.

The deal, announced Wednesday, should boost Chase up two notches to the No. 4 spot in mortgage lending and one notch to No. 5 in loan servicing. It had been sixth in both categories.

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