Shares of HomeSide Inc. began trading Friday. The Jacksonville, Fla., mortgage bank's shares were priced at $15 in an offering led by Merrill Lynch & Co.

The company's registration statement said the stock was expected to sell at $16 to $18 a share. After its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, HomeSide closed at $16.75, up 12%. Its shares trade under the ticker symbol "HSL."

After the offering of 7.35 million shares to the public, HomeSide's four principal owners-Bank of Boston Corp., Barnett Banks Inc., and the venture capital firms Thomas H. Lee and Co. and Madison Dearborn Partners-retain 82% of the 42.27 million shares outstanding.

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