NationsBanc Mortgage Corp. is beginning an ambitious push into the Northeast.

The subsidiary of Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank Corp. will open six retail offices in New York and New Jersey later this year and plans to move into more northeastern states next year.

"We looked strategically for areas to significantly build the retail channel of our business, and the northeastern markets offered us many growth opportunities," said Andrew D. Woodward Jr., president of NationsBanc Mortgage.

Such expansion plans are further proof that the company intends to climb higher in the ranks of the major players in mortgage lending. It has already experienced a rapid ascent.

NationsBank has made several acquisitions of banks with significant mortgage operations in the last two years, and the unit itself has made some purchases of servicing portfolios. As a result, NationsBanc at midyear was the sixth-largest servicer of mortgages and eighth-largest originator.

And once the merger between NationsBank and Boatmen's Bancshares is completed later this year, NationsBanc Mortgage will have over $100 billion of loans in its servicing portfolio. The company had less than $20 billion in 1993. NationsBanc, which already has a servicing center in Buffalo and services more than $6.2 billion in loans from borrowers in New York and New Jersey, currently does not have any origination branches in either state.

Retail offices will be opened in Syracuse, Buffalo, and Albany, N.Y. A retail office will also open in northern New Jersey.

The other two offices - in Rochester and Newburgh, N.Y. - will operate as satellites, with originators working from independent locations.

When the offices in New York and New Jersey open, NationsBanc will have a retail presence in 13 states and Washington, D.C. Currently, the company's offices are mainly in the West and Southeast.

One Northeast-based mortgage banker said that NationsBanc's move into the Northeast would be a "moderate concern" because NationsBanc is generally an aggressive pricer and also has a good reputation for service.

"Clearly NationsBanc, in other parts of the country, is a strong competitor," the banker said.

Still, the banker added, NationsBanc will encounter heavier competition from mortgage brokers in New York and New Jersey and have more thrifts to contend with.

No indication was given by NationsBanc about exactly when the six offices in New York and New Jersey would open. A spokeswoman for the parent company said that more announcements would be made this year once new sites for offices in the Northeast were chosen.

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