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First Niagara announces top 2015 mortgage producers

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Thu, Feb 4th 2016 05:00 pm

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. today announced five Western New York loan officers were the top mortgage producers for the entire organization across its Northeast footprint during 2015. They include Michael Kozlowski, Rocco Diina, Julie Symes, Ralph Basile and Stephen Pezzino.

Kozlowski joined First Niagara in 2009 from M&T Bank. He has received distinction for being a top mortgage producer for the past five consecutive years. He is a graduate of St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute and Edinboro University.

Diina has ranked top across the company's mortgage division in funded dollars for the past several years. He joined First Niagara in 2011 as a mortgage consultant, after spending five years at M&T Bank as a mortgage banking officer. He is a graduate of Canisius High School and Canisius College and specializes in private client services mortgage products.

Symes joined First Niagara in 2011 as a mortgage consultant after spending three years at HSBC as a loan officer. She graduated from Buffalo State College in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science, Summa Cum Laude. She also serves on the State of New York Mortgage Agency Advisory Council, working closely with local housing counseling agencies and various municipalities to help first time homebuyers access local grant programs.

Basile has more than 30 years of experience in mortgage lending and has been with First Niagara since 2005. He has been in the top five in production since he joined the company and has received over two-dozen national and local production and customer service awards over the past 30 years.

Pezzino joined First Niagara in 2002 as a mortgage consultant and is a past top mortgage producer for First Niagara. Pezzino has a finance and marketing degree from the University of Buffalo. He has earned several excellence awards and has been named a top producer in four previous years.

"We are very proud of the top-notch mortgage team we have in place at First Niagara. They work every day to keep our customers at the center of everything we do," said Frank Sardina, senior vice president and director of residential mortgage originations. "Their production was unmatched in 2015. I congratulate them on a tremendous year and look forward to more great results in 2016."

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