Online lender SoFi lays off workers at Healdsburg office

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Social Finance Inc., the online lending firm that grew rapidly through refinancing student loans, has laid off an unspecified number of employees at its Healdsburg office for the second time this year.

The San Francisco-based company, better known as SoFi, is trimming 100 people between its offices in Healdsburg and Salt Lake City, according to a company official. The cuts represent about 7 percent of its overall workforce of 1,400 people.

The layoffs are slated in two phases: some people were let go on Friday and others will be terminated at the beginning of the new year. Its Sonoma County operation employs about 200 people at an office next to the Healdsburg Plaza.

In January, the company laid off a set of employees at the Healdsburg office. At that time, the local office had about 250 workers.

A company official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the company intends to outsource more of its mortgage operations, part of a plan to double its output in 2019. SoFi has made more than $3 billion in home mortgages, specializing in loans with a 10 percent down payment and no private mortgage insurance. It also targeted home equity loans that allow the homeowner to consolidate their student debt.

“Fifty percent of our mortgages to date have been with existing members. These changes put us in a better position to help even more members by offering competitive rates and a smoother digital experience. In fact, we believe these decisions will allow us to double our mortgage business in 2019 when others will likely be contracting,” the company said in a statement.

The Healdsburg office employs customer service agents, loan officers and other operations personnel.

The company came into Healdsburg four years ago as up-and-coming firm in the financial tech sector, specializing in student loan refinancing before expanding into other financial services. Employees would work causal in company T-shirts and have catered lunches.

The company, however, was caught up allegations of sexual harassment by senior staff, including CEO Mike Cagney, at the Healdsburg office. Cagney later stepped down. Brandon Charles, a senior operations manager at the Healdsburg office, filed a lawsuit last year, claiming he was fired for calling attention to the sexually charged atmosphere.

The Charles lawsuit was settled in May with the terms undisclosed, according to a company spokesman.

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