CHICAGO -- Norwest Corp. president and chief executive officer Richard Kovacevich called analysts' second-quarter earnings estimates of 58 cents to 63 cents a share "a reasonable range."

Last year, the Minneapolis-based financial services and bank holding company earned 52 cents a share in the second quarter.

"The second quarter looks good," Mr. Kovacevich said in an interview. "Loans continue to increase, and we think our margins are going to continue to be good."

He also described Wall Street's full-year projections that Norwest would earn $2.40 to $2.50 a share as "a realistic range." In 1993, the company reported earnings of $2.13 a share (primary) and $2.10 (diluted).

Community Banking Specialist

Norwest, with $55 billion in assets, is the nation's 13th-largest bank company. It derives 55% of its operating earnings from community banking. The company avoids concentrating too heavily in any one region or product area. "Our largest loan is $67 million, and the average commercial loan is $200,000," Mr. Kovacevich said.

Although Norwest is constantly evaluating acquisition prospects, he noted, "we don't have to make any acquisitions to grow." More liberal interstate banking regulations "would make it easier for us but wouldn't result in any dramatic changes."

Fees remain solid contributors to revenues; service charges and cash management and processing fees contribute 39%.

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