The Bank Slate


BayFirst retools mortgage, SBA operations

BayFirst Financial in St. Petersburg, Fla., has laid off more than 60 mortgage employees and added a national Small Business Administration platform. 

The $889 million-asset company said in a press release that it cut 65 jobs in the first quarter, including 62 within its residential mortgage division. BayFirst said the impact of the layoffs will not be realized until the second quarter and beyond. 

BayFirst also hired two large mortgage production teams earlier this month, which added five loan production offices. The effort includes the LoanBud platform, which is expected to offer mortgages and SBA loans to self-employed borrowers. 

The company launched a national SBA platform during the first quarter after hiring six lenders. The additions are expected to boost loan production and revenue in coming quarters. 

“As our business model adjusted over the past three quarters … we began taking steps to right-size our residential lending team and overall expense structure,” CEO Anthony Leo said in the release.

“We continued to invest in our future by recruiting SBA and residential production teams while continuing to advance our digital transformation,” Leo added.
BayFirst said its first-quarter earnings were impacted by a reduction in mortgage loan volume. It earned $13,000 in the quarter, compared with $7.5 million a year earlier. 

Originations in the residential mortgage division fell by 53% from a year earlier, to $336 million. 

SBA loan originations were triple that of a year earlier, to $47.3 million (but they were down 20% from the fourth quarter).

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