PNC Mortgage will lose the originations chief who has helped advance the lender's national expansion.

Michael J. Kozlak, executive vice president of production, will depart in December from the Vernon Hills, Ill., unit of PNC Bank Corp.

Mr. Kozlak said he is resigning for personal and family reasons after two years as a top executive with PNC Mortgage. The company is looking outside for a successor and expects to have the position filled before yearend, said PNC Mortgage president Saiyid T. Naqvi.

"I hate to lose him," Mr. Naqvi said of Mr. Kozlak, a 20-year mortgage industry veteran. "His professional heart is very much with us."

Mr. Kozlak, whose career included seven years as president of First Bank System's Minneapolis mortgage company, "helped us grow on several fronts," Mr. Naqvi said.

He said Mr. Kozlak's efforts were especially apparent in the West, where PNC has opened 34 production offices this year. The mortgage unit also has been working toward being more sales- and marketing-oriented than other bank-owned lenders. But Mr. Kozlak never relocated to Minnesota from Illinois after joining PNC, and that may have been a factor in his departure.

Mr. Kozlak's leaving "will have an impact, but this is not a major blow," said Ross Demerle, a banking analyst who follows PNC for money manager McDonald & Company Investments, Cleveland. "Their operations are in place, and things are running smoothly."

Mr. Kozlak will be missed, but "this isn't going to slow us down," Mr. Naqvi said. "We've got a very solid management team in place" to handle expansion and acquisitions the mortgage unit may pursue.

Under the leadership of Mr. Naqvi, who was named president of the mortgage unit in 1995, the number of PNC loan offices has increased to 116 from 76. He also has brought in new technology, including laptops, to handle originations.

The unit estimates it will originate $6.4 billion this year, up from $5.6 billion in 1996.

PNC has origination officers throughout the United States but does not expect to move one of them into Mr. Kozlak's slot. Instead, PNC will look for someone with broad industry experience who can relocate to the Chicago area, Mr. Naqvi said.

Mr. Kozlak has advice for his successor: Be sales- and marketing- oriented, technologically sophisticated, and "focused at the highest level on customer service."

"I came to PNC Mortgage because of the vision, commitment, and resources" it was using to become a mortgage leader, Mr. Kozlak said. Those attributes "are as true today as they were the day I joined."

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