Norwest Corp. has agreed to buy Franklin Federal Bancorp, a $1.1 billion-asset thrift based in Austin, Tex., according to a well-placed source.

The source said Norwest would pay about $100 million, or a little more than twice Franklin's book value.

Minneapolis-based Norwest declined to comment Tuesday, but a source said the company outbid Compass Bancshares Inc. of Birmingham, Ala., and Houston-based Bank United of Texas.

The acquisition would give Norwest $9 billion in total assets in Texas.

Analysts said the price paid is slightly expensive for a Texas thrift, but fits $74 billion-asset Norwest's Lone Star State strategy.

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