Barnett Banks Inc. said it hired Francis G. Seabrook to head residential real estate lending.

Mr. Seabrook, 49, was named chief executive of Barnett Mortgage Co., Jacksonville, Fla. James R. Griffiths, the unit's previous chief, will now be president and chief operating officer.

Mr. Seabrook, who had been chief operating officer of PaineWebber Mortgage Finance Inc. in Columbia, Md., was hired to "take our mortgage company to the next level of achievement," said Thomas P. Johnson Jr., Barnett's chief retail banking executive.

Part of Barnett's plan is to expand in the business of servicing mortgages for investors, a spokesman indicated.

Barnett currently services about $10.5 billion of mortgages, including $8 billion of loans held in its own portfolio.

Barnett said Mr. Seabrook helped turn the PaineWebber unit around from a $500,000 loss in 1987, to a $13 million profit in 1991.

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