National Australia Bank is storming into the U.S. mortgage business by buying HomeSide Inc., a young and innovative company that has quickly become a force in the U.S. market.

National Australia is paying a hefty $1.23 billion to become a leading U.S. player. It already owns Michigan National Corp. and hopes to broaden HomeSide's strategy of originating loans through correspondents in markets away from its home turf.

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