First Financial and the City of Cincinnati Announce Downtown Development Agreement

March 10, 2011

CINCINNATI - March 10, 2011 -Mayor Mark Mallory, City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. and Claude Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Financial Bancorp held a joint news conference today to announce a major partnership agreement and the bank holding company's long-term commitment to maintain its corporate headquarters in downtown Cincinnati.

Pending City Council's approval, First Financial will enter a 12-year agreement with the City bringing 150 jobs to the central business district.  The company continues to negotiate the details of an agreement for a corporate headquarters facility and expects to announce the exact building location in the coming weeks.

"We want to thank city leadership, including Mayor Mallory and City Manager Dohoney, for their commitment to First Financial and providing us with this exciting opportunity," said Davis. "Downtown Cincinnati is the ideal location for First Financial as we continue our strategic growth and expansion plans. We look forward to being a part of the central business district and establishing additional jobs downtown."

"First Financial is a great addition to the Downtown Cincinnati business community," Mayor Mark Mallory said.  "Cincinnati continues to be a top choice of businesses looking to grow and expand.  We are going to continue to be aggressive in attracting new businesses to join our community."

"First Financial's investment in Cincinnati is another positive sign of the growth that Cincinnati is experiencing," said Dohoney. "First Financial is joining other prestigious names in calling Cincinnati its headquarters and cementing our name as a global business center. We're very pleased to welcome them."

In late 2009, First Financial moved its corporate headquarters to temporary space in downtown Cincinnati and has been working to identify a long-term facility to meet the company's growing needs.  Locating the corporate headquarters downtown provides significant business development opportunities as well as the ability to attract and retain the best talent in the industry to position the company for future growth.

"There's no question Cincinnati is very important to our overall growth strategy," said Davis. "We look forward to being a part of the community and Cincinnati's vision for growth and economic development."

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About First Financial Bancorp

First Financial Bancorp is a Cincinnati, Ohio based bank holding company. As of December 31, 2010, the company had $6.3 billion in assets, $4.3 billion in loans, $5.1 billion in deposits and $697 million in shareholders' equity. The company'ssubsidiary, First Financial Bank, N.A., founded in 1863, provides banking and financial services products through its three lines of business: commercial, retail and wealth management. The commercial and retail units provide traditional banking services to business and consumer clients. First Financial Wealth Management provides wealth planning, portfolio management, trust and estate, brokerage and retirement plan services and had approximately $2.3 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2010. The company's strategic operating markets are located in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky where it operates 108 banking centers across 70 communities. Additional information about the company, including its products, services and banking locations is available at www.bankatfirst.com.
About City of Cincinnati Economic DevelopmentThe City of Cincinnati's Economic Development Division (EDD) is focused on major projects and the revitalization of downtown. It serves as a liaison between City departments and the business and development communities and provides financial, informational, and technical assistance to those seeking to invest and grow in Cincinnati. Recently, the City has been responsible for bringing other headquarters to Cincinnati including Medpace, Eurostampa, dunhumby, and Graeter's.  The Division has brought 5,500 new jobs to the city in just the past four years.