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1st Franklin marks 75 years in business

In Russellville, the Highway 43 1st Franklin Financial location opened first, in the mid-’90s, followed later by the downtown location. But the corporation opened long before the Russellville locations.

1st Franklin Financial marked 75 years of business last month. Opened in 1941 with a $34 loan in Teccoa, Ga., 1st Franklin was originally called Franklin Discount Company. It was incorporated in 1946 and opened the first standalone location in 1947. Two more offices were opened in the ’50s, during which time 1st Franklin began selling investments in the company.

In the ’70s the company reached 49 branches – all in Georgia. In 1987 the company crossed state lines into South Carolina.

The business name changed from Franklin Discount Loans to 1st Franklin Financial Corporation in 1983. In 1992 the first office opened in Alabama, in Clanton.

“By the end of the ’90s, we had grown from 77 offices to 178 locations,” explained Justin Taylor, Russellville downtown branch manager – with two of those 178 location in Russellville. “Typically they don’t have two offices this close, but we provide for such a wide area – Red Bay, Haleyville, Hamilton – that we both sustain successful offices.”

Taylor, who has been with 1st Franklin for about seven years, started at the Highway 43 location for a year and a half before moving downtown. He said the two locations do compete for business, but “it’s not cutthroat.”

Today the company has more than 1,000 employees in nearly 300 locations.

Taylor said putting focus on customers is what has kept the company in business for so many years.

“Our service keeps bringing people back,” he said. “We have a standard of trying to know our customers by name as soon as possible and developing relationships.”

Christy Franks is the branch manager at the Highway 43 location.