In a bid to boost originations in the booming Southwest market, BankAmerica Corp. is sending a seasoned executive to head its retail unit there.

Kevin McCafferty, who has managed BankAmerica Mortgage's wholesale operations in northern California, will now head the mortgage unit's Southwest realty division, the bank announced last week.

Mr. McCafferty will work to acquire or open mortgage offices and develop relationships with realty agents in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

Through the move, the bank hopes that originations in the Southwest will climb from a "nominal" portion of its business to $1.5 billion within a year, according to Wayne Perry, senior vice president and loan production manager at BankAmerica Mortgage.

Mr. McCafferty will first concentrate on Arizona, where the bank currently makes mortgages through an affiliate bank, wholesale mortgage brokers, and four retail mortgage offices.

Mr. Perry said the mortgage unit's strategy in Arizona would be to leverage the name recognition and marketing power of Bank of America into more business for the mortgage unit.

"We are trying to capitalize on those markets where we have a market presence to be a true dominant market player and to capitalize on advertising, management expertise, and name recognition," Mr. Perry said.

The bank sees Arizona as a fertile market to cross-sell its services, Mr. Perry said.

Retirees, for example, who move to Arizona and open checking accounts or buy investment services at Bank of America are also good candidates for mortgages through the bank, he said. And he said that those who get home loans through the bank will also be sold other banking services.

Mr. Perry said the bank's strategy to beef up lending in Arizona fits in with its larger plan to do more of its mortgage business outside California, in order to diversify the risk in its portfolio.

After Arizona, the bank will develop the Texas market, he said.

Since 1993, Mr. McCafferty has managed sales and operations in wholesale real estate in northern California. Before that he was director of marketing for the bank's real estate division.

Before joining Bank of America in 1987, Mr. McCafferty worked for Gibraltar Savings.

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