Norwest Corp. has added two mutual funds that give retail customers more diversification for their investment dollars.

The new funds - a diversified equity portfolio and a growth equity portfolio - use a so-called fund of funds approach. They invest in other Norwest mutual funds, including stock, bond, and cash mutual fund portfolios, to minimize risk and boost returns.

The banking company already manages $11.9 billion in its proprietary Norwest Funds.

The fund of funds approach is becoming increasingly popular among banks. U.S. Bancorp, Chase Manhattan Corp., and KeyCorp, among others, have plans to launch similar funds.

Lee Chase, vice president in charge of Norwest's investment products, said the funds have been offered to 401(k) investors for several months. The company added retail shares to meet demand from consumers who want to invest in stock funds.

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