Long Island Bancorp, continuing to expand its home lending business, has bought a Virginia mortgage company.

The deal for First Home Mortgage marks the second time this summer that the Melville, N.Y., savings bank has acquired an out-of-state mortgage operation. It now has 24 mortgage origination offices spanning nine states from New York to Georgia.

Terms of the deal, completed Thursday, were not disclosed. The company, based in Franklin Gardens, Va., has five offices in the state. It originated $168 million of loans over the past 12 months, through conventional, correspondent, and subprime programs.

In late June, Long Island Bancorp bought loan offices in Horsham, Pa., and Raleigh, N.C., from Fleet Mortgage Corp.

Long Island Bancorp is eyeing further acquisitions. Though focusing on mortgage businesses, the company is also open to buying other savings banks, said Joseph P. Bryant, executive vice president in charge of mortgage lending.

"We want to be a retail player up and down the East Coast," Mr. Bryant said.

One industry expert said the strategy makes a lot of sense. The East Coast "is where the action is if you want to be in banking," said Robert A. Calvert, president of Calvert Consulting, Atlanta. "The country's population is concentrated there."

Many mortgage banks have seen the potential and have put down firm roots. But Mr. Calvert believes there is room for other lenders, "as long as they have the right people and systems support."

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