Norwest Corp. is about to snap up a trio of family owned banks in Denver, according to industry sources.

The Minneapolis-based banking company is paying two times book value for the $230 million of assets owned by First National Bank of Southeast Denver, First National Bank of Arapahoe County, and First National Bank of Lakewood, according to sources.

The deal would bring Norwest's assets in Colorado to about $6 billion.

"It's a seller's market," said one source, who added that Norwest came back three times before having its bid accepted. "I don't know how they can justify these prices."

The banks are owned by Denver's Leprino family, which owns a wholesale food products company and an upscale residential development. Spokesmen for the Leprinos and for Norwest declined to comment.

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