A western New York thrift is doubling its residential mortgage staff by hiring 10 displaced BankAmerica Corp. employees.

Lockport Savings Bank is taking in the Charlotte, N.C., banking company's Buffalo residential mortgage division, which is to be closed this month. The thrift's officials expect the additions to increase originations at their $1.4 billion-asset institution by $60 million a year. "It's hard to put it into words; we are just thrilled," said Richard J. Sapia, Lockport's vice president of residential mortgage.

Mr. Sapia said he approached the employees about joining Lockport Savings last spring after BankAmerica announced its deal to merge with NationsBank Corp.

The employees then contacted Mr. Sapia after the decision this fall to shutter the office, he said.

"It's very difficult to find seasoned residential mortgage professionals and just as difficult to bring green recruits up to speed quickly," he said. "This is just awesome for us."

Lockport originated 1,297 residential mortgage loans-totaling about $112 million-in Buffalo's Erie County in 1997.

A BankAmerica spokeswoman said the company had decided that Buffalo was too far away from its other outposts-the nearest BankAmerica office being 400 miles away in New York City. She added that BankAmerica was happy to work with Lockport Savings to avoid leaving any employee jobless.

No other BankAmerica mortgage office is slated to close.

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.