Mellon Bank Corp.'s recent agreements to acquire two leasing portfolios reflect a desire to diversify in asset-based lending - and to improve returns on traditional assets.

The deals - bringing $1.5 billion of assets from a Ford Motor Co. subsidiary and $150 million from the purchase announced this week of First United Leasing Corp. - put Mellon "in all three segments of leasing," said Jeffery L. Leininger, vice chairman for specialized commercial banking.

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