Magazine article American Banker

N.J. Merger Partners Say Deal Would Boost Home Loan Business

Magazine article American Banker

N.J. Merger Partners Say Deal Would Boost Home Loan Business

Article excerpt

Executives of UJB Financial and Summit Bancorp say they believe their planned merger, which would create the state's largest independent bank, would permit faster expansion of their mortgage business.

The merger, in which the Summit name would survive, would double the bank's originations - to $800 million through August - and servicing - to $4.6 billion. The banks announced plans for the $1.2 billion merger on Monday and said they expect the deal to be completed early next year.

As a combined entity, "we'll be a stronger competitor in terms of delivering services to customers," said Anthony Allora, who has headed UJB's residential mortgage company for six years.

The combined bank would use its higher profile to access additional customers and products, Mr. Allora said. "We'll be able to shake more things from the tree."

There would also be a shake-up, starting at the top of the banks' mortgage units. Mr. Allora oversees UJB's mortgage unit; Gerald Facciani is the top executive at Summit Mortgage. Mr. Facciani joined Summit in September 1994, when the bank bought his mortgage company, Lancaster Financial.

Spokeswomen from both banks said senior positions in the new mortgage group, as well as its headquarters, are still being hashed out. "There is nothing definitive about who is reporting to whom, and where" they would be located, a spokeswoman said.

Industry observers said they would expect some fallout as the two mortgage units melded, given the entrepreneurial leanings of the Lancaster business that forms the backbone of Summit's lending program. …

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