First Place Finance

 First Place Finance

First Financial Bancorp makes a mark in Dayton.

Technology has made banking easier than ever, but some financial institutions have sacrificed personal relationships in favor of automated machines. But at First Financial Bancorp, customers can find modern accessibilities without losing an intimate feeling of trust.

“More and more people want the convenience of paying their bills online, while also moving and depositing money,” says Kevin Langford, president of consumer banking at First Financial Bancorp. “For us, it’s also about being relevant for our clients and serving them the way they want to be served.”

While the way people bank has changed, First Financial grew its operation in a traditional way. The bank’s Dayton footprint is more visible than ever since acquiring Liberty Savings in 2011. With the acquisition, the bank now has 17 centers in the area. The Dayton centers are among 110 throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Through consumer, mortgage, business banking and wealth management, First Financial has recorded 91 consecutive quarters of profitability. Its growth and success in the midst of a recession is based on sound and conservative underwriting principles.

“It’s not a high-risk culture here,” says Langford. “We provide real and tangible solutions to problems.”

With $6.3 billion in total assets—and approximately $2.5 billion in assets under management—First Financial’s risk-based capital far exceeds the requirements set forth by The Federal Reserve. It’s a marked achievement in a region crowded with large financial institutions.

“We really want all of our clients to have the opportunity to fulfill all their financial needs with one institution,” says Doug Lefferson, president of commercial banking and wealth management for First Financial. “We strive to be the go-to resource for our clients.”

First Financial also introduced several new applications, like Snap Deposit, a cellphone application that allows customers and clients to deposit checks by photographing them. Electronic bills and statements are the result of a constantly evolving tech sector creating ripple effects in the financial services.

“Consumer habits are changing and more people want convenience,” says Langford. “We want to provide tools that meet our clients needs.”

Serving clients has been a part of the First Financial mission since opening its first location in Hamilton in 1863 after the National Banking Act was passed and created a national uniformed banking system. First Financial’s charter is the sixth oldest in the country and a reminder of the bank’s roots in southwestern Ohio.

“Our philosophy centers on building strong, long-term relationships,” says Lefferson. “In talking with our clients, we have found they really appreciate our position as a community-oriented bank with local leadership, high-quality associates and comprehensive financial capabilities.”