Roslyn Bancorp has hired Joseph P. Bryant to head its mortgage subsidiary, Residential First Inc.

Mr. Bryant, who was most recently in charge of residential lending at New York Bancorp's Home Federal Savings unit, will have the task of increasing Residential First's minority lending programs.

"If you're going to be a preeminent lender and be successful," he said, "you're going to have to do a substantial amount of business with minorities."

Last month, Roslyn agreed to pay $3 million to settle a lending-bias charge with the New York State Banking Department. The Roslyn-based thrift agreed to pay $5,000 each to more than 550 minority borrowers.

The thrift denied wrongdoing but suspended its overage program-in which loan officers are rewarded for getting borrowers to pay higher than market rates for mortgages.

Roslyn originated about $700 million of mortgages last year and has a servicing portfolio of about $1.1 billion. Mr. Bryant said Roslyn is using a subservicer, Dovenmuehle Mortgage, because the cost of servicing loans on Long Island is very high.

"Servicing mortgages on Long Island probably would not be the most prudent thing from a business management perspective," he said.

Mr. Bryant will also be responsible for broadening Residential First's geographical reach. Joseph L. Mancino, chief executive officer of Roslyn Bancorp, said the mortgage company can help Roslyn diversify geographically. Currently, it does most of its business on Long Island.

"When Long Island gets a stomach ache, we get a headache," Mr. Mancino said.

Residential First has gotten approval, Mr. Mancino said, to set up retail operations in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.

In addition, it started a wholesale operation in February that does business on the East Coast as far south as the Carolinas.

Other New York thrifts have been expanding their mortgage operations as well. Dime Bancorp acquired North American Mortgage last year. And Wednesday another Long Island thrift, Haven Bancorp, announced that it was buying Intercounty Mortgage, the retail subsidiary of Resource Bancshares Mortgage Group.

Mr. Bryant has experience building mortgage operations for a New York thrift, having overseen the expansion of home-loan operations at Long Island Bancorp. It acquired three mortgage companies during his tenure as head of mortgage lending. He left Long Island Bancorp last year to join New York Bancorp, which is being acquired by North Fork Bancorp.

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