Norwest Mortgage, the home lending division of Wells Fargo & Co., earned $69 million in the first quarter, up 33% from a year earlier.

Norwest originated $28 billion of mortgages, also up 33%. Refinancings represented 58%.

Retail branches accounted for 43% of Norwest's originations. Wholesale and correspondent lending made up the rest.

The company's servicing portfolio hit $257 billion on March 31, up 21% from a year earlier and 5% from Dec. 31.

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