Pedestal Inc., an online exchange for bond investors, has tapped three banking industry veterans to ramp up its loan trading desks.

They will work on the whole loan residential desk and the commercial and multifamily desk.

The Washington-based company last week said it has hired Robert G. Gaither of First Union Corp., Jack Radin of Mellon Financial Corp., and Christopher C. Haspel of National Cooperative Bank.

Also joining Pedestal is Robert F. Fox, who for the past 13 years has run Secondary Connection Inc., a Clearwater, Fla. company that offered advice on secondary market trading strategy. Mr. Fox is closing Secondary to join Pedestal.

The four will report to managing director David Hurt. Mr. Hurt joined Pedestal from Redwood Residential Funding of Larkspur, Calif., in November.

Pedestal spokesman John Lewis said the four new traders would be making a transition from buying and selling bonds to providing a service to the bond investors who are Pedestal's customers. The desks work on pricing and due diligence and inform buyers what products meet their demands.

Mr. Lewis said Pedestal's online system can create liquidity for sellers' securities by broadening their reach to investors via the Internet. The system in which people make trades and exchange information by phone calls is "an inefficient process," he said. "We streamline the process."

Each of the new traders will work on whole loan residential trades, with Mr. Haspel also concentrating on the commercial and multifamily side.

Mr. Fox, 56, will serve a national base of mortgage bond traders, focusing on performing and non-performing bulk loans.

Mr. Gaither, 48, will focus on conduit purchasing and whole loan trading. He has 25 years of experience in the mortgage industry, and has worked for First Union for the past 12 years. He was most recently senior vice president of its capital markets group.

Mr. Radin, 46, will handle secondary marketing, finance, and mortgage-backed securities hedging and trading. He was most recently director of secondary marketing, and first vice president of Mellon Mortgage Co. of Houston.

Mr. Haspel, 35, will specialize in commercial and multifamily loans, non- and sub-performing loans, and other asset-backed loans. His most recent position was vice president of Washington-based National Cooperative's capital markets group.

Since January 1999, more than $5 billion of loan products have been posted for sale on Pedestal's exchange, the majority of them ineligible for sale to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. About $2 billion was posted in the first quarter.

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