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BATON ROUGE, La. – A reduction of Internet lending firm Appro Systems’ field sales staff by 50% is not the prelude of a company collapse, said Appro President/COO Craig Uffman, but more of a strategic decision about which financials the firm wants to target. Having seen firms such as CUShopper dramatically cut its sales force and then eventually declare bankruptcy, credit unions have become wary of companies, especially Internet firms, that announce job cuts. Uffman said Appro has eliminated five of its field sales staff employees. Not a big number, but considering the company only had a 10-person field sales staff, it is a significant reduction. “What we’ve done is simply made a decision. We’ve figured out where we think our sweet spots are that we want to sell too,” said Uffman. Uffman said Appro, which has over 150 credit union clients, is now targeting the credit unions in the $200 million-plus range with its existing field sales staff. “We just can’t afford to be going after $85 million credit unions that are going to cost us as much to acquire as getting a $600 million credit union,” said Uffman. He noted that the employees who were cut weren’t bringing in much new business for the company. “Frankly, those we have eliminated are those who weren’t producing an awful lot. We felt we could afford not to have them on our payroll,” said Uffman. Uffman wanted to emphasize however that Appro is still targeting CUs under $200 million, just not with its full-blown software where the credit union is much more in control of the entire system. Smaller CUs, he said, tend to use Appro’s Web application systems that can be simple links to Appro’s servers. “The distinction is one customer isn’t having to maintain the software. The larger credit unions are going to have much more control. They’re going to want to have control over administration and configuration,” said Uffman. Uffman said about 10-15 of its CU clients, mostly larger CUs, are using Appro’s full-blown lending software. Many of the company’s smaller clients were former clients of State National’s Loan Link lending center, which State National sold off to Appro last year. [email protected]

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