One of the highest-ranking women in the home loan business is leaving Dime Savings Bank of New York to lead General Electric's mortgage services group.

Jenne K. Britell has been hired as executive vice president and general manager of GE Capital Mortgage Services Inc., Cherry Hill, N.J. She will fill the vacancy left by Stuart McFarland, who left last September to pursue other interests, GE said.

Ms. Britell, who was chief lending officer and general manager of mortgage banking at Dime, will be in charge of the unit's conduit operation, which accumulates loans and pools them for investors; its servicing business, which collects monthly mortgage payments and funnels them to investors; loans to other lenders to finance inventories; and the unit's home equity portfolio.

She will report to Thomas Mann, president and chief executive of GE Capital Mortgage Corp.

GE's mortgage operation has undergone a number of shifts in upper management. In May, Mr. Mann replaced Michael Zafirovski, who had run the day-to-day mortgage operations before being promoted within General Electric. Mr. Mann had been vice president and general manager at GE Capital Vendor Financial Services.

Gregory T. Barmore remains chairman of the mortgage unit.

Lawrence Toal, chairman, president, and chief executive at Dime Savings Bank, will be active general manager of the mortgage operations, and Paul Colason, senior vice president of mortgage banking will be responsible for day-to-day operations until a replacement is found. A Dime spokesman said the company is conducting an industry- wide search for a replacement.

Ms. Britell has risen to the top ranks of mortgage bankers in an industry dominated by men. Before becoming a Dime executive vice president and the general manager of its $20 billion mortgage operation, she was a senior vice president at Citicorp Mortgage Inc. in 1987 and 1988. From there, she continued her banking career at Republic National Bank, where she ran residential and commercial real estate lending through 1990.

She ran her own business, Home Power Inc., for three years after her stint at Republic, where she advised international investors on the acquisition and management of financial institutions and mortgage banking subsidiaries. She spent part of that period setting up the Polish-American Mortgage Bank in Warsaw in 1992. It was the first private organization to finance residential construction and mortgages there.

During Ms. Britell's tenure at Dime, the thrift acquired two mortgage companies, extending its reach into Georgia and Virginia.

GE's mortgage operation altered its focus last year. It discontinued its small retail lending operation, and sold its Residential Express retail mortgage origination operation to Knutson Mortgage Corp., Bloomington, Minn.

Industry observers said some of GE's mortgage insurance clients didn't like the competition GE posed on the originations front. The company still originates loans on a wholesale basis, but it sharply reduced its volume in this business for much of last year, citing poor profit margins.

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