Online lender SoFi orders layoff for Healdsburg employees

The SoFi office in Healdsburg specializes in student loan refinancing. (JOHN BURGESS/ PD FILE, 2015)

BILL SWINDELL,

Social Finance Inc., the online lending firm whose top executive was forced to resign last year in the wake of sexual harassment claims against the company, has laid off an unspecified number of employees at its Healdsburg office.

The company, more commonly known by its acronym SoFi, laid off a “small percentage of our employment base” at the office next to the Healdsburg Plaza, said spokesman Jim Prosser. He declined to state an exact number.

SoFi came to Healdsburg in 2014 as the company quickly grew in the financial tech sector by drawing recent graduates to refinance their student loans at lower cost, later expanding to offer a wide array of services such as mortgages and personal loans.

The company soon ramped up to 200 employees at the office, making it one of the largest employers in the city. The office primarily serves as a customer service center for clients, with employees, many decked out in company T-shirts, working both morning and night shifts to handle calls. About 250 employees are currently based there, Prosser said.

The office attracted national attention last year when a sexual harassment suit was filed by a former Healdsburg-based loan reviewer against office against managers. In the aftermath, then-CEO Mike Cagney was forced to resign. The new CEO, Anthony Noto, is set to take over on March  1.

The company continued to grow, including finalizing its largest securitization deal to date in October in a $776 million deal for refinanced student loans. The company has seven offices across the country, including its headquarters at the Presidio in San Francisco.

The layoffs were made to strategically place employees in the right location, Prosser said.

“We’ve made some changes to staffing to ensure we have the right people in the right roles and locations to power our growth,” he said in an email.

Those laid off were given re-employment assistance services as well as severance packages, Prosser said. He also noted that SoFi has openings for 175 positions, including some in its Healdsburg office.

You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223 or bill.swindell@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @BillSwindell.