By purchasing Prudential Home Loan Co., Norwest Mortgage gained the obvious: loan assets and servicing volume. But the deal also benefited parent Norwest Corp. in a little-noticed way.

With the acquisition, Norwest's securities administration services unit doubled the amount of mortgage-backed securities it handles for investors, to $80 billion.

The gain put Minneapolis-based Norwest among the top providers of this kind of service, which requires making sure investors get payments on time, among other responsibilities.

Norwest securities administration added thousands of investors to its roster through the 270 portfolios acquired in last week's purchase of Prudential's assets. Each portfolio represents scores of investors in various classes of securities.

Tom Kraack, senior vice president in charge of the securities administration unit, said fees from the business amount to a few hundredths of 1% of the cash flow in the securities. This yields a 35% return on the unit's revenues, he said.

Analysts said the securities servicing business is a sound one to be in, provided a company has the necessary technology. "It's a source of fee income and another way of accenting the mortgage unit," said Anthony Davis, banking analyst at Dean Witter Reynolds.

Mr. Kraack said addition of the Prudential business is a welcome boost to operations and also positions his unit to grow.

"This will free resources for us to look for other markets that are attractive to us," Mr. Kraack said.

Operating efficiencies will let the unit look into different types of mortgage securities, he said, such as those collateralized by subprime, or "B" and "C," loans.

Also, the operation is now positioned to weather weak markets, Mr. Kraack said. "If you have mass, it helps you withstand cyclicality."

Norwest hired all 40 employees of the Prudential operation and, for the time being, is keeping open its center in Frederick, Md.

Norwest's securities administration services unit is based in Columbia, Md. Within a year, the bank company will combine the operations at a common site, Mr. Kraack said.

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