Continuing to surge toward the top in mortgage servicing, HomeSide Lending Inc. announced an agreement Thursday to take over the $18 billion portfolio of the former First Chicago NBD Corp. from Bank One Corp.

The Jacksonville, Fla., company's portfolio would increase 15%, to $136 billion. Adding scale is increasingly considered crucial to success in servicing, which is the business of collecting payments, mailing statements, and generally managing mortgage loans.

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