First Financial Bank will celebrate the grand opening of its regional hub and downtown banking center Tuesday in Fort Wayne. The banking center is located on the first floor of First Financial Center near the Allen County Courthouse.

April 6, 2015

News Release

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Local residents, community leaders and First Financial associates will gather for a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of First Financial?¦s regional hub and downtown banking center in Fort Wayne.

The banking center is the Bank's first in Fort Wayne and is located on the first floor of the newly named First Financial Center at the Anthony Wayne Building, across the street from the historic Allen County Courthouse in Downtown Fort Wayne.

In addition to the first-floor banking center, First Financial leased out a total of 9,700 square feet of the building including the entire sixth floor to house its local leadership, commercial and mortgage teams.

“I believe it says a lot about our commitment to the community by having our first banking center located downtown and being part of the city's exciting development,” said Rob Slusser, First Financial Market President. “Furthermore, the regional hub will allow us to establish the First Financial Center, provide permanent space for our corporate and sales associates and position us to grow in this community.”

First Financial has already shown tremendous growth in Fort Wayne, adding retail, commercial and mortgage teams in a little more than a year after entering the market.

While First Financial is new to Fort Wayne, the local team is not. Slusser has more than 25 years of finance experience and his team is also very experienced serving the Greater Fort Wayne area.

“We are an experienced group and we know Fort Wayne; and we are now going to be able to offer the sophisticated services that First Financial provides to this community and its businesses,? Slusser said. “I am excited to hear what this community thinks of this new banking center and how we can help them on their path to success.?

First Financial was founded and started providing financial services in 1863 in Hamilton, Ohio. Since the beginning, First Financial has built its success on focusing on client relationships. It is that community-centered size and approach that has helped First Financial to grow to more than 100 banking centers in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

That community-centered feel is appropriate considering the former tenant of the building, which was another community bank that used the same location as its headquarters for 22 years.

“Jay Powell – the president, CEO and board chairman of the Anthony Wayne Bank – actually wrote me a letter, congratulating us on moving into the space,? Slusser said. “He wished us success and said that he was excited about being a client of First Financial.?

The new banking center and regional hub incorporates several elements that reflect the company's commitment to sustainability, including energy-efficient building materials, lighting controls and solar powered efficiencies.

Overall, First Financial has 16 employees at its Fort Wayne offices and has plans to add more throughout 2015. The community bank is also aggressively reviewing opportunities to bring additional banking centers to the Fort Wayne area.

To coincide with grand opening week, First Financial Bank will feature giveaways and special offers to its clients and visitors.

For more information about First Financial, visit www.facebook.com/firstfinancialbank or www.bankatfirst.com.

About First Financial Bancorp

First Financial Bancorp is a Cincinnati, Ohio based bank holding company. As of December 31, 2014, the company had $7.2 billion in assets, $4.8 billion in loans, $5.7 billion in deposits and $784 million in shareholders' equity. The Company's subsidiary, First Financial Bank, N.A., founded in 1863, provides banking and financial services products through its four lines of business: commercial, consumer, wealth management and mortgage. The commercial, consumer and mortgage units provide traditional banking services to business and retail clients. First Financial Wealth Management provides wealth planning, portfolio management, trust and estate, brokerage and retirement plan services and had approximately $2.4 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2014. The Company's strategic operating markets are located in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky where it operates 106 banking centers. Additional information about the Company, including its products, services and banking locations is available at www.bankatfirst.com.

Source: First Financial Bank, Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

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