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A subsidiary of Rochester Community Savings Bank has opened a mortgage lending office in Amherst and lured some key employees away from Chase Lincoln First Bank to run it.

American Home Funding Inc., based in Richmond, Va., decided the Buffalo area was the best place for its second office in the state because of the area's strong residential real estate market.

"We see long-term growth potential there -- steady growth in housing appreciation without the big peaks and valleys we see elsewhere," said Elton Buie, a spokesman for the company.

American Home also was influenced by its parent's decision to open four bank branches in July, he said.

However, American Home had identified Buffalo as a likely prospect for an office long before Rochester Community announced its plans to move into the market, he said.

The company lured Pamela S. Serafini away from Chase Lincoln to head its new office.

Ms. Serafini had been vice president and sales manager for all residential mortgage operations of Chase Lincoln in Buffalo and Rochester.

Several other key employees of Chase Lincoln's local mortgage origination operation followed Ms. Serafini to American Home, a Chase Lincoln spokesman said.

The departures have not had much effect on Chase Lincoln's operations -- all the employees who left have been replaced and customers were not affected, the spokesman said.

American Home's office temporarily is located on International Drive in Amherst in offices shared with another Rochester Community subsidiary, American Credit Service Inc., an auto lender.

The firm's 10 local employees will move into permanent offices at 1829 Maple Road on July 15. Eventually it will have 16 employees here and serve eight Western New York counties.

American Home Funding offers a wide range of residential mortgages from 35 locations stretching from Buffalo to Florida along the eastern seaboard.

The company packages 99 percent of the mortgages it originates into securities and sells them on the secondary market, Buie said.

In 1989 it originated $1.28 billion worth of mortgages; its goal this year is $1.4 billion.

The mortgage company was founded in Ithaca in 1980 by Citizens Savings Bank. Rochester Community purchased a 50 percent stake in it in 1983 and purchased the remaining 50 percent in 1986.

In 1988 American Home bought another mortgage origination and servicing company, Investors Home Mortgage Corp., and moved its headquarters to Virginia.

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