Net income at the $103.7 billion-asset Norwest rose to $393 million, or 50 cents a share. The Minneapolis company, which is scheduled to merge with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. in the fourth quarter, cited strengths in mortgage, trust, and credit card businesses as well as service charges on deposit accounts.

Norwest said it improved earnings in all three of its major business groups. The banking group earned $281 million, up 10.5% from the 1997 quarter. Mortgage banking earned $56 million, up 49% despite losing money in mortgage servicing. Consumer finance increased 13% to $55.5 million.

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