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First Franklin Said to be Firing Staff

The message boards are on fire today with news of even more layoffs, or, ahem, firings.

According to one poster over at, First Franklin is looking to fire half of its staff for non-performance.

Apparently the mortgage lender set unrealistic sales goals for the team, and will dump the bottom 50%.

The poster also mentioned that many of the top 50% are being written up as well, and may be fired if they don’t meet their goals.

Additionally, the informer said, “Only 9 of 158 AE’s nationwide met goal for [the] last 3 months.”

I’ve heard a more comprehensive report that 33 of 526 employees nationwide made goal.

And who can really blame the sales staff in this market, especially with mortgage brokers complaining of high mortgage rates that are pricing First Franklin out of the market, coupled with a lack of product breadth.

The tipster also mentioned talk of production offices closing, while another forum-goer commented that First Franklin would be switching the product mix to A-paper.

If anything, First Franklin and any other lender in this mess should give employees severance packages, or at the very least lay them off so they can collect unemployment insurance.

Terminating employees at this point in the game is simply unfair. With things as bad as they are, no one should be blamed for a lack of production.

Either stay or go, but don’t set unrealistic production goals with ill intent.

I’ve also heard that operations staff have been laid off in approximately 20 offices, and that only 6 to 8 branches remain.

Merrill spokesman Bill Halldin said, “We have adjusted our staffing levels to be in line with current business conditions.”

Merrill Lynch bought subprime lender First Franklin from National City earlier this year for $1.3 billion.

First Franklin was the No. 4 U.S. subprime originator in the first quarter according to National Mortgage News.

Meanwhile, over at Countrywide, a poster on an ex-employee board said , “An RVP for FSL in Northern California “accidentally” sent a spreadsheet to the entire region with all the people who are getting laid off on the 19th, great way to see your name in lights?”

I guess it’d be fitting for the layoffs to go just as badly as everything else…

Update one: The “Countrywide Layoff List” was reported by a Northern California news station and is now big news!

Update two: The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal just reported that First Franklin Financial Corp. is shutting its Campbell, CA office and laying off staff at its San Jose headquarters.

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