DES MOINES -- With the opening of its newest office in downtown Washington, D.C., Norwest Mortgage Inc. has become the first mortgage lender with offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the company said.

While many mortgage lenders began centralizing their businesses in the late 1980s, Norwest Mortgage took the opposite approach, expanding its network of local offices.

"In mortgage lending, where rates are basically a commodity, our competitive advantage is having 2,000 loan originators providing personal, face-to-face service to more real estate agents, builders, and potential home buyers," said Mark Oman, president of Norwest Mortgage.

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