Waterbury-based Webster Bank and North Haven-based H. Pearce Real Estate Co. have joined forces to form a new mortgage firm, WP Mortgage.

After years of selling homes and providing mortgages in a traditional way, Waterbury-based Webster Bank and North Haven-based H. Pearce Real Estate Co. hope a new joint venture will provide better services for customers.

The two companies announced last week that Webster’s Consumer Lending Division and H. Pearce have formed a partnership and started a new mortgage company, WP Mortgage, which will feature loan officers in H. Pearce offices.

“Time is our clients’ most precious commodity,” said Barbara Pearce, H. Pearce’s president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. “The affiliation of Webster and H. Pearce Co. under WP Mortgage will ensure our customers receive dedicated one-stop service. Both our organizations are committed to meeting the financial needs of our customers in the communities we serve.”

Partnerships between banks and real estate agencies are fairly common. Before teaming up with Webster, H. Pearce rented desks in its offices to mortgage companies, according to Pearce. RE/MAX recently told its affiliates that it will work with Bank of America to start providing homebuyer programs, according to Sandy Gervais, broker-owner of RE/MAX Advantage in Avon.

“RE/MAX has aligned [itself] with Bank of America,” she said.

Although her office has no official affiliations with any mortgage lenders, Gervais noted, its does have a list of preferred lenders that it refers to homebuyers. That is a good way to assure that the buyers will deal with reputable lenders who will work with them and the real estate agency, unlike some cases when the buyers find lenders themselves.

“One of the things that scares us is when they find mortgages on the Internet,” Gervais said.

Some buyers have had problems working with Internet lenders in the past, she noted.

‘All About Convenience’

Other real estate firms, such as Prudential Connecticut Realty, operate their own mortgage companies. Prudential’s, which is called Connecticut Home Mortgage, has been in business for 12 years.

“They just wanted to provide a service to the clients [when they started the mortgage company],” said Kevin Rinaldi, vice president and director of financial services for the mortgage company.

The mortgage company wasn’t intended to be a profit center, but quickly became profitable, Rinaldi said. It now operates its control operations in Shelton – where workers process, underwrite and fund loans – and has 26 mortgage originators who work out of Prudential Connecticut’s 42 offices. And the majority of Prudential’s clients now use the mortgage company. Rinaldi estimated that about 85 percent of people who buy homes with Prudential’s services use Connecticut Home Mortgage. A small amount of the company’s business comes from people who buy through an outside agency.

“[But] the majority of the business, probably 95 percent, is internal,” Rinaldi said.

Webster and H. Pearce decided to start their mortgage company after Pearce noticed many similar-sized real estate agencies doing the same thing.

“When I looked around the country, it seemed like more and more of my peers were doing this,” she said. “We want to provide a more comprehensive range of services.”

Being partners in a mortgage company is also a good way to gain more control over the process of selling and funding a home, Pearce added.

And Webster seemed like a good partner. Both companies have a long history in the communities they serve, said Denis St. Marie, executive vice president of consumer finance at Webster.

Webster saw the idea as a good way to deliver its services, St. Marie added.

“I think it’s an interesting proposition,” he noted. “It’s all about convenience.”

Pearce added, “It is exciting to have a joint venture with someone as exciting and dynamic as Webster.”

The new process removes a step from loan approval, St. Marie said.

“Webster Bank is pleased to work with H. Pearce Realty to provide our customers with an efficient process for loan approvals,” he said in a prepared statement. “Webster is always exploring innovative ways to offer convenient service to our customers. WP Mortgage removes steps from the loan approval process, and capitalizes on our ability to make decisions locally.”

In practice, the Realtors at H. Pearce won’t have much to do with the loan process. They will simply offer the service of WP Mortgage, and then Webster’s back office will take over, St. Marie said.

“Each player will play to its strengths,” he said.

WP Mortgage recently held a “kickoff rally” at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven to introduce the company to H. Pearce’s Realtors. Keynote speaker, University of Connecticut coach and soon-to-be Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jim Calhoun gave a motivational speech that stressed the importance of team building.