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WALTHAM, MA-Spectrum Financial Corp. has announced plans to merge with Philadelphia-based Legg Mason Real Estate Services. The 30-year old Spectrum will continue to operate out of its offices in Watermill Center here. The new company will be called Legg Mason Real Estate Services/Spectrum Financial.

For Spectrum, the deal will represents a shot at grabbing the national spotlight while accommodating its expanding client base, while Legg Mason stands to achieve its goal of expanding into the Boston area.

“Basically we wanted some national exposure and they were looking for an office in Boston,” says Stan Sidel, a principal with Spectrum. “The more we got into it the more we realized it was a good idea. We can give our clients access to the services they provide and it gives us access to their offices along the eastern seaboard.” Sidel and Joseph J. Hegenbart will continue to manage the offices here.

Legg Mason will take over Spectrum’s mortgage loan servicing portfolio. “They’re bigger and better at it,” Sidel points out. “They have sophisticated systems and handle huge volumes of loans.” Sidel acknowledges that part of the impetus of this merger is the industry trend toward centralization of services, but insists that his office will remain autonomous in placing mortgages.

“This takes the administrative side of the business off our hands,” he says. “We were reaching the next stage in growth and we needed to take the next step in servicing. Otherwise, we would have had to make a major additional investment.”

Legg Mason Real Estate Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Baltimore-based Legg Mason Inc. and provides commercial mortgage banking and servicing, investment advisory services, real estate investment sales and real estate consulting services to institutional investors, property owners and developers nationally through 18 regional offices.

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