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Omega Bank Forms Joint Mortgage Venture

December 13, 2006

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Omega Bank has formed a joint venture with American Home Bank, N.A. to expand the variety of mortgage products the bank can offer its marketplace, according to bank officials.

The new company, Omega Financial Mortgage Solutions, LLC, will be 49% owned by Omega Bank. It will be headquartered in Mountville, Lancaster County, said Donita R. Koval, president and chief executive officer of Omega Bank.

"By forming this new alliance, we will enhance the types of mortgage products we can offer to customers throughout our market area," Koval said. "We are looking to be an aggressive force in bringing to market innovative ways for people to realize their dream of home ownership."

Koval noted that among those innovations is HOME ONE(SM), a one of a kind program that will have customers approved and ready to break ground in 21 days or less. Consumers can lock in today's low fixed rate and protect their payment prior to building, giving them peace of mind during construction, she said. The builder will have nine months following the closing to complete construction. In addition, the new joint venture will offer reverse mortgages, with specialists trained and certified in this product. That offering can provide avenues for customers interested in the bank's Wealth Management products and services.

Steve DiPangrazio will serve as Director of the new joint venture. He began his career with the former Keystone Financial as a loan officer shortly after his graduation from Shippensburg University where he earned a BS/BA in Finance. In 1998, he moved to the bank's Blair County region, becoming Blair County area mortgage lending manager in 2000. Keystone was acquired by M&T Bank that year. Steve is also a past-president of the Central Highlands Mortgage Bankers Association. DiPangrazio, who lives in the Hollidaysburg area, is married with three children.

Omega Bank will continue to originate Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) loans as well as certain other in-house mortgage solutions, including U.S. Department of Agriculture's Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan Program loans, for which Omega was named the top-producing Pennsylvania originator. Earlier this year, Omega Bank received a Pillars of the Community award from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLB) for sustained and outstanding commitment to projects that provide affordable housing and community and economic development. Omega is the only financial institution in Central Pennsylvania to receive the award this year and one of only four in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia among 340 institutions eligible to compete for the designation.

"Just as a builder constructs a home that's custom-made for a buyer, we plan to construct a mortgage solution that's tailored to that particular customer's needs," Koval said. "We continue to emphasize the customer-driven nature of our product design across all our business lines and this is one further example of that philosophy in action."

James M. Deitch, AHB's chairman and CEO, is a familiar face to the Central Pennsylvania banking community, having served as chairman and CEO of Keystone National Bank, Keystone Financial Mortgage Corp. and executive vice president of Keystone Financial, Inc., the former parent firm of the former Mid-State Bank.

"We're excited about combining our expertise in mortgage lending with Omega's strengths and customer relationship management techniques to exceed customer expectations," Deitch said. "Together, we are going to provide an outstanding line of products and superior customer service to homebuyers in Omega's marketplace."

Koval said that the formation of Omega Financial Mortgage Solutions is a logical extension of the bank's customer relationship management strategy that seeks to develop enhanced relationships that span traditional lines of business rather than assign customers to categories. "The new entity gives us additional opportunities to sell products from our other affiliates like homeowners and title insurance, as well as checking products. This helps Omega diversify its revenue stream beyond the traditional reliance margin business to include more sources of fee income."

Source: Omega Financial Corporation



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