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Monday March 20, 8:31 am Eastern Time

Company Press Release


First Franklin Financial Corporation Employs ARC Systems' AU Technology

Number One Nonprime Wholesale Lender Provides Point-of-Sale Decisions Through ARC's Internet-Based Technology

NEW ORLEANS, March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- ARC Systems announced at the MBA National Technology in Mortgage Banking Conference that First Franklin Financial Corporation® is using the Austin, Texas-based application service provider's (ASP) technology to receive point-of-sale credit evaluation and risk-based pricing decisions via the Internet for its entire suite of loan products. ARC Systems provides lending institutions with decision power for better business practices, giving lenders the ability to provide answers at the point-of-sale.

First Franklin, the mortgage banking industry's leading nonprime wholesale originator, is a subsidiary of National City Corporation (NYSE: NCC - news). First Franklin employs nearly 1,000 mortgage professionals and originated $4.5 billion in nonprime mortgages in 1999.

ARC Systems provides First Franklin's brokers with automated underwriting and credit decisions via the Internet based on the lender's own criteria. Under this agreement, First Franklin supplies ARC Systems with its guidelines for credit approval and product pricing. When an application is submitted to the system for approval, the application is decisioned within seconds based on First Franklin's lending parameters. If the application does not fall within these established guidelines, it is tagged for manual underwriting for further review.

``Serving the nonprime market encompasses certain business challenges that the prime market does not necessarily have to address,'' CEO of First Franklin Bill Dallas said. ``Many of the loan products are similar, but the behind-the- scenes underwriting and lending guidelines are very different, so we needed to find a business partner that could work with our rules and guidelines. ARC Systems' technology offers us this flexibility.''

First Franklin is currently using ARC Systems' technology to decision and price all of its loan products, including the company's combo-loans, a combination of first and second mortgages, closed back-to-back, that allows borrowers to receive up to 100 percent financing. Under these combo-loans, borrowers are qualified based on the loan-to-value (LTV) of the full amount to be mortgaged; however, two separate loans are originated, documented and funded. According to First Franklin, its brokers who originate combo-loans can receive 14 possible combinations including approval conditions in less than 90 seconds.

``ARC Systems was the clear choice to provide the automated decisioning and risk pricing for the combo-loans because no other technology can decision and price these loans via the Internet,'' Dallas said.

``Part of our corporate mission is to use technology and the Internet to reduce documentation and increase speed in mortgage originations,'' he continued. ``ARC Systems' technology fits well with our business strategy and the quality and speed of decisions our brokers receive is unparalleled in the industry. Using ARC's technology will certainly help First Franklin stay ahead of the rest in this highly competitive non-conforming market.''

``Lenders that strive to simplify the mortgage process and eliminate unnecessary documentation will certainly gain competitive advantage in today's lending market,'' President and CEO of ARC Systems, Ed Jones said. ``Moving the underwriting process closer to the point-of-sale is paramount in shortening the origination process. First Franklin has been an innovator since its inception, and employing ARC's Internet-based technology further demonstrates its dedication to leading the non-conforming industry.''

About First Franklin Financial Corporation

First Franklin Financial Corporation was founded in 1981 to serve the prime credit market. In 1994, the company made a strategic move to serve the nonprime lending market, and in 1995, First Franklin introduced a proprietary credit-risk lending solution called Direct Access. The wholesale lender currently works with more than 11,000 mortgage brokers nationwide and operates 24 wholesale centers throughout the United States. First Franklin originates, purchases, sells and securitizes nonconforming/subprime, residential, first and second lien mortgage loans.

For more information about First Franklin, contact Marketing Manager Amy Witmer at (408) 964-6000 or write to 2150 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95131.

About ARC Systems

Founded in 1984 as Advanced Resource Computer Systems, ARC Systems is a privately held company that provides lending institutions, banks and credit unions across the nation with the power to make fast, accurate and consistent decisions at the point-of-sale for risk-based pricing and credit evaluation. Empowering financial institutions with the ability to make better business decisions, the company's proprietary, patent-pending, rules-based system is used by more than 80 lending operations nationwide, including Aames Financial Corp., First Franklin Financial, Option One and Irwin Mortgage.

For more information about ARC Systems, contact Mary Tipps at (512) 892-5550, via email at mtipps@arcsystems.com , or write the company at 5316 Highway 290 West, Suite 500, Austin, TX 78735. The company's Web site can be viewed at www.arcsystems.com .

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