The nation’s eighth-largest bank, National City Corp., is looking to sell some of its mortgage lending units as it moves into retail banking in Florida.

Cleveland, Ohio-based National City announced Monday that it may sell its First Franklin Financial subprime residential mortgage unit and its National City Home Loan Services processing unit as rising interest rates slow demand for home loans.

An analyst at Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co., Gary Townsend, told Bloomberg News that San Jose, Calif.-based First Franklin could sell for $800 million to $1.2 billion.

National City announced today an agreement to acquire Harbor Florida Bancshares, the holding company for Harbor Federal Savings Bank, which has $3.2 billion of assets and 40 branches on Florida’s east coast.

Harbor Florida stockholders will receive National City common stock in a transaction totaling approximately $1.1 billion, National City said. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2006, giving National City a retail banking presence in Florida to supplement its existing residential and commercial real estate lending business.

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