Northwest Bank thinks it can get more out of its mortgage business in the Buffalo region, and is staffing up to do so.
The bank will hire as many as 10 mortgage loan originators in the region, for a team led by a former Five Star Bank official, Rocco Diina.
"When I first came to the bank, we were doing well in the mortgage business," said Ronald Seiffert, the president and CEO, who joined the bank in late 2017. "We have a significant number of mortgages on our balance sheet. But we saw that we could enhance the good business and make it even better."
Until now, the Pennsylvania-based bank has handled customers' mortgage applications either online or over the phone. Northwest wanted to give customers the option of working with someone in person, to walk them through the process.
The new hires are coming on board as Northwest has upgraded its operating platform for mortgage applications and expanded its mortgage product offerings, said Louis Torchio, head of retail lending at Warren, Pa.-based Northwest.
The mortgage loan originators will play a key, on-the-street role in growing that business segment, Torchio said.
"They'll be originating loans on their own, through their own sources: Realtors, builders, centers of influence in the market. They'll also be relying heavily on the retail branch network."
Overall, Buffalo is the largest of Northwest's seven regions, and its most profitable, Seiffert said.
The bank's Jefferson Avenue branch, which debuted in January, is off to a good start, Seiffert said. "We couldn't be more delighted about where we're located, how impactful that branch already is, and what it will be as that area of Buffalo continues to grow and prosper."