Norwest Corp. said it is buying Century Business Credit Corp., a New York factoring company.

Terms of the deal, expected to close in the first quarter, were not disclosed.

Century Business would become part of the Norwest subsidiary Foothill Group Inc., an asset-based lender in Los Angeles. Andrew H. Tananbaum would remain chief executive officer of Century.

Foothill, which was acquired by Norwest in October 1995, has $1.6 billion in outstanding loans and $1.2 billion in managed assets.

"It fits with the Foothill strategy," said analyst Joseph Duwan of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. Norwest "has been better than most for keeping the cultures of small companies they buy intact."

Norwest is expected to close its merger with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. in early November.

- Brett Chase

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