Berks County Bank of Reading, Pa., and the Reading branch of Century 21-Advance Real Estate have formed a joint venture, ABC Mortgage Co.

A Berks loan officer accepts and processes applications in the real estate office, just as he would in a branch of the bank. Berks' senior vice president, Norman Heilenman, said this practice is becoming more and more common.

Indeed, Berks has had a similar relationship for three years with a local Coldwell Banker office.

"A lot of realtors have formed partnerships with a lot of lenders. The idea is to have one location where the customer can wrap up as much business as he can," Mr. Heilenman said. "We control the lending just as any other transaction we are doing," he said. "The underwriting is based upon our standard criteria, whether it's in the bank or not."

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