United Bank of Glastonbury, Conn., has hired three experienced former Bank of America mortgage bankers in West Springfield, Mass.

The goal is to expand the bank's lending operations in western Massachusetts, said William H.W. Crawford IV, chief executive officer of United Financial Bancorp, the parent of the $5-billion-asset bank, in a press release. "Building our mortgage banking presence in Greater Springfield and the western Massachusetts area is a top priority for United Bank," he said.

The hires bring "big-bank experience," Crawford said, along with local decision-making experience.

Lisa Kraus is the bank's new vice president and western Massachusetts sales manager. She previously was a vice president and home loan manager at Bank of America in West Springfield. She has also held executive positions with Countrywide Home Loans (which B of A acquired in 2008) and Banknorth Mortgage Group of Springfield.

Loan officers April Healey and Jill Keefe also worked at B of A in West Springfield before joining United. Prior to joining Bank of America, Healey was a real estate broker for Century 21 in West Springfield for several years. Keefe has held management roles for the former Northeast Savings and is a 37-year resident of Wilbraham, Mass., with extensive community contacts, the bank said.

The new hires are part of the bank's continuous efforts to expand its residential mortgage business team and the number of commission-based mortgage loan officers, which increased from 12 in 2012 to 35 as of May 2014, according to the release. After completing its merger with Rockville Bank in April following a $369 million deal, the new United Bank consists of more than 50 branches in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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