Banc One Mortgage Corp., one of the industry's fastestgrowing home lenders, has named a commercial banker president and chief executive officer.

Jeffrey P. Gaia replaces J. Albert Smith Jr., who was promoted to president of Bank One Indianapolis.

Mr. Gaia, 40 years old, had been chairman and president of Bank One Utah.

The change, which went into effect Oct. 1, was the second at Banc One Mortgage in three months.

John R. Haggerty left the mortgage company in July to become president of Comerica Mortgage Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich.

Banc One Mortgage was the 27th-largest servicer in the nation, with a portfolio worth $18.1 billion last year. As of June 30, the servicing portfolio's value had climbed to $20 billion. In 1991, it was worth just $7.6 billion.

Loan originations were also growing at a fast clip until now. From 1991 to 1993, originations grew to $7.1 billion from $1.6 billion. Banc One's originations have tailed off, as in much of the industry, to $2.8 billion in the first six months of this year.

The mortgage banking division contributed only $14 million last year to the bottom line at Banc One Corp., its parent, which is based in Columbus, Ohio.

Moshe A. Orenbuch, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said there did not appear to be any "smoking gun" in this executive change. Mr. Orenbuch said Banc One often promotes from within.

It's rare for a commercial banker to take over a top mortgage banking position, as Mr. Gaia has. And it's even rarer for mortgage banker to win a top post in a commercial bank, as Mr. Smith has.

Mark Oman, president of Norwest Mortgage Inc., is a rare example of a banker hired to a top lending post.

Commenting on Mr. Oman's success at Norwest, Stuart A. Feldstein, president of SMR Research Corp. in Budd Lake, N.J., said, "Maybe you don't need to be an age-old mortgage banker to make this thing work."

Since early last year, Banc One Mortgage has been aggressively expanding its technology capabilities to increase productivity and reduce costs. It was one of the first lenders to employ laptop computers in the loan origination process.

Earlier this summer, Banc One Mortgage took a stand on a sticky topic. The lender was one of the first to restrict its loan officers from charging borrowers more than the going interest rate. The controversial charge, called an overage, spurred a warning letter from the Federal Reserve.

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