Strong demand for mortgages, driven by lower interest rates, helped two midwestern thrifts boost first-quarter earnings.

Charter One Financial Inc., a $13 billion-asset Cleveland company, reported net income of $38.5 million, a 31% increase. Charter One originated $812 million of loans in the quarter, a 258% increase from the same period last year. Its loan growth was primarily due to its doubling in size through the fourth-quarter acquisition of Firstfed Michigan Corp. of Detroit.

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