John F. Karaszewski wants to be a champion. Recently named president and chief operating officer of Citizens Mortgage Corp., Atlanta - host city for the 1996 Olympic Games - Mr. Karaszewski will carry the torch of a company he thinks will be a winner in the rapidly consolidating mortgage business. Citizens Mortgage is a subsidiary of Citizens Bank of Rhode Island, owned by Royal Bank of Scotland. In a recent interview, Mr. Karaszewski talked about his plans.
Q.: Were you looking for a new opportunity?
KARASZEWSKI: It was an opportunity that approached me. I was interested in being able to run my own company again as I did at Dominion (Bankshares Mortgage Corp., McLean, Va.). I've been looking at the consolidation in the industry. Citizens wants to be an acquirer of other banks, which is a place I want to be. Citizens has an excellent telemarketing operation in Providence, R.I., to service New England, and will grow it to service the rest of Citizen's mortgage origination areas.
Q.: What are your plans for Citizens?
KARASZEWSKI: I want to maximize mortgage origination opportunities through Citizen's bank branches. They have over 130 branches in densely populated areas with small businesses. This lends itself well to affinity lending and direct marketing, which are areas I want to explore. I want to stay in residential mortgages but will also leverage other opportunities.
Q.: Tell me about Citizens' affinity marketing.
KARASZEWSKI: Citizens just started an affinity group, which will do $80 million to $100 million at yearend. We have plans for expansion. We will look to use affinity relationships as a vehicle to utilize our branch origination group.
While at PNC, in January 1994 Mr. Karaszewski was put in charge of bolstering loan originations through the bank's 550 branches. PNC had a 20% increase in mortgage originations three months after it acquired Sears Mortgage Corp.