Comerica Inc. has put its subprime auto lending division on the block, investment bankers said.

Investment bankers at a mergers and acquisitions conference here said bids were due last Friday and that a sale could be announced this week. Among the likely bidders, they said, are Norwest Corp. and Household Financial which bought subprime auto lenders last year.

The subprime auto sector is in the midst of a shakeout in the wake of the bankruptcy filing last year by Mercury Financial Corp., the sector leader.

"There's three or four banks that are interested in building up this business and the rest are scared," said one investment banker.

The sources said the Comerica unit tightened its underwriting standards about six months ago.

- Aaron Elstein

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