CINCINNATI, May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- First Financial Bancorp (NASDAQ: FFBC) announces its 2016 Community Development Report. It can be accessed at www.bankatfirst.com/community. The report focuses on the five key areas for community development: 1. Access to banking services, 2. Lending in the community, 3. Investing in the community, 4. Volunteerism, 5. Financial education.
"At First Financial, we're proud to give back to the communities where we live and work each day," said Roddell McCullough, First Financial's Director of Community Development. "We take great pride in working closely with our neighbors to help enhance the quality of life and build stronger communities. From providing smart financial solutions to investing in local initiatives, our associates are deeply committed to helping our clients every step of the way."
First Financial's Community Development strategy includes a focus on growing mortgage and small business lending, delivering consistent service, making donations that support affordable housing, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, increasing volunteerism by associates and targeted marketing in all of the communities First Financial serves. Some of the 2016 report highlights are below.
Access to Bank Services
First Financial increased and maintained access to financial services by opening and maintaining banking centers in low- and moderate-income areas. At the end of 2016, 29.6 percent of locations within metropolitan counties and 25.5 percent of all First Financial banking centers were located in low- or moderate-income demographic areas. We also strive to continue to develop financial services and products that are affordable and convenient to all community members, including Snap Deposit, electronic bill pay and the BackPocket Prepaid Debit Card. We are also proud to support local initiatives focused on helping our neighbors who are unbanked or underbanked.
Lending in the Community
First Financial has developed loan products and programs to attract new businesses and retain current clients in low- and moderate-income areas. During 2016, First Financial Bank provided support for a wide variety of initiatives that addressed the needs of the low- and moderate-income areas we serve. The bank committed more than $70 million of financing to businesses for the retention and creation of job opportunities and housing through multi-family and other mixed-use developments.
Additionally, First Financial Bank is honored to be a preferred SBA lender and is consistently recognized as one of the top SBA lenders in Ohio. SBA Grow Loan program lending for First Financial Bank totaled $9,272,000 in 2016.
Investing in the Community
First Financial continues to invest in organizations located in low- and moderate-income communities through investments, sponsorships and donations. First Financial invested more than $1,216,000 into approximately 500 programs to support the community. Some examples include $50,000 to the Regional Economic Development Initiative, $25,000 to the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, and $20,000 to the Catalytic Fund.
The bank's goal is to build a stronger culture of volunteerism at First Financial and join our neighbors on their path to success. To show commitment to this important community endeavor, First Financial offers paid time off to full-time and part-time associates for volunteer activities during scheduled work hours. In 2016, our 1,500 associates donated 5,700 hours of paid time off for volunteer activities.
First Financial focuses on contributing to and supporting organizations that provide financial education training and program support for the economically disadvantaged. Bank workshops and offerings, include ElderCare Financial Awareness, FDIC MoneySmart, School Bank Program, and Visa® Practical Money Skills.
For more information about the Community Development Report, visit www.bankatfirst.com/community
About First Financial Bancorp
First Financial Bancorp is a Cincinnati, Ohio based bank holding company. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had $8.5 billion in assets, $5.8 billion in loans, $6.5 billion in deposits and $880.1 million in shareholders' equity. The Company's subsidiary, First Financial Bank, founded in 1863, provides banking and financial services products through its four lines of business: Commercial and Private Banking, Retail Banking, Investment Commercial Real Estate and Commercial Finance. These business units provide traditional banking services to business and retail clients. Commercial and Private Banking includes First Financial Wealth Management, which provides wealth planning, portfolio management, trust and estate, brokerage and retirement plan services and had approximately $2.5 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2017. The Company's primary operating markets are located in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky where it operates 103 banking centers, while the Commercial Finance business lends into targeted industry verticals on a nationwide basis. Additional information about the Company, including its products, services and banking locations is available at www.bankatfirst.com.
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SOURCE First Financial Bancorp