First Western Bancorp of New Castle, Pa., has formed a new mortgage banking subsidiary called Residential Mortgage Company of America, despite the spiraling drop in loan originations.

Residential Mortgages is forcusing its sales efforts on construction loans for new single-family and multifamily homes, a sector of the economy that has rebounded in the area.

And the company hopes to tap into that portion of the market being serviced by mortgage brokers.

"It's evident that mortgage brokers have gained in market share in the past few years," said Donald D. Wehn, president of Residential Mortgage.

Mr. Wehn is targeting consumers who would rather deal with a broker than with a bank or thrift.

Laptop and Modem

"It's a function of convenience. Customers know a broker will come to their home anytime they want," he said.

To speed ip loans processing, Residential Mortgage plans to send its loan officers out in the field armed with laptop computers and modems that will link them with their home office and a credit-reporting agency.

Residential Mortgage will offer fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage loans for purchases and refinancing as well.

The loans will be structured for sale to other First Western units, or investors.

The company will start operation May 2 in Cranberry Township, a fast-growing residential construction market in Western Pennsylvania.

First Western, which has nearly $1.4 billion of assets, will continue to originate mortgages through the 37 community offices of its subsidiaries.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.