a good team leverages good cash flow

Our lenders have been engineering leveraged finance strategies in the lower middle market for more than 15 years – serving funded, independent and family office sponsors coast-to-coast.


in originations since 2016


transactions in 2020


Lead Left

Low execution risk. Highly sophisticated products. Coast-to-coast coverage.

Invest in confidence. We are adept at structuring and managing flexible strategies in condensed timeframes, including senior and mezzanine securities. Name the industry, name the place. We’ll handle it.

We provide senior secured cash flow and asset-based loans for lower middle market companies, including:

  • Leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, refinancings, and dividend recapitalizations.
  • Investments with a minimum of $1 million EBITDA; senior leverage  typically up to three times EBITDA (total leverage up to four times EBITDA, on average).
  • Companies across a wide variety of industries; primarily manufacturing, business services and distribution.

Our advantage? The faces behind the dollars

Any bank can claim to know you and your business, but when it comes to industry knowledge, in-depth business understanding, and no-nonsense responsiveness, our experienced team has a proven track record with lower middle market companies. We not only help secure the capital your business needs to move forward, we build long-term relationships gaining our client's trust and confidence to secure future deals.

Meet the team

Brooke Balcom, Group Head of Sponsor Coverage and Asset-Based Lending

“I work hard and play hard. My clients know they can count on me. I’ll be your honest advisor and strongest advocate. Just ask my kids.”

With 20 years of lending experience, Brooke serves as Group Head of Sponsor Coverage and Asset-Based Lending. She’s also served on multiple SBIC advisory boards and has investment experience from fixed-income investing to mezzanine and lower middle market to large corporate lending.

M.B.A. from Duke University
B.A. from University of Michigan

Call Brooke: 513.979.5822

James Conklin, Managing Director, Business Development

“I probably would have been a movie director if I wasn’t in banking. That’s because I’m constantly looking ahead to the next scene in life. And, fun fact, I’m a rebel when it comes to movie trivia!”

James has an ability to look at the big picture with his clients, weighing current needs with future goals. His 18 years of experience in managing business capital and middle market private equity deals earn him credit for understanding all aspects of lending.

M.B.A. from University of Notre Dame
B.S.B.A. from Xavier University

Call James: 513.979.5853

Robert Nussbaum, Managing Director, Business Development

“My clients know I’m straightforward and transparent, while also being understanding and responsive. I also believe in balancing life’s seriousness with a bit of humor. I enjoy the art of a well-placed pun and am constantly honing my ‘craft.’”

Robert has over 11 years of varied lending experience under his belt. From his time covering lower middle market and large corporate clients in roles ranging from underwriting to portfolio management to originations, he’s seen it all and leverages that experience for his clients.

B.S. Finance from Miami University

Call Robert: 513.458.6443

Kendrick Vincent, Director, Business Development

“I’m a big fan of the 80-series Toyota Landcruiser, which is widely known for its reliability and taking on the roughest terrains.  My goal is to build a similar reputation with my clients, where they know they’re getting someone who’s hard working, reliable and willing to roll up their sleeves when the road gets tough.”

Kendrick joined First Financial in 2021 and has more than eight years’ experience in the cash flow and leverage lending space. His background covers a broad range of sectors, including consumer products, industrial, environmental services and business service.

B.A. from Wittenberg University

Call Kendrick: 614.682.5475

Meet Faraz – Managing Partner, Centerfield Capital Partners

Faraz needed more than just financial backing, he needed a team who understood his goals. Brooke, James and Robert used their experience and knowledge of the market to solve complex situations with leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, add-on acquisitions, and growth in lower middle market companies. Flexibility, hard work, and years of experience working together make this team run smoothly.

Let's connect

It’s good to trust your gut. However, structuring a leveraged finance strategy is not an impulse endeavor. There are lots of options to consider, and each comes with its own situations and questions.

Our extensive suite of options includes:

  • Revolving Lines of Credit
  • Term Loans
  • Acquisition Lines
  • Delayed Draw Term Loans
  • Mezzanine Loans
  • Equipment Finance
  • Bridge Loans
  • Interest Rate Risk Management
  • Foreign Exchange Risk Management
  • Treasury Management

Our industry experience includes:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Equipment rental
  • Engineering services
  • Financial services
  • Food/agriculture
  • Healthcare (light reimbursement risk)
  • Infrastructure
  • Pet
  • Transportation
  • Logistics

Drop us a line here by submitting the form and someone will be in touch with you soon.


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We fund coast-to-coast

Frequently asked questions

A cash flow-based loan is a secured loan that is sized based on the bank’s estimation of the sustainable cash flows or Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) of the Company.

Yes, we seek to work with sponsors who have significant experience with capital markets, strategies for operational improvement, investing in a particular industry, executing various strategic initiatives and/or operating leveraged companies.

Yes, there are adjustments to EBITDA for verifiable nonrecurring costs.

Lines of credit are often based on current assets and underlying working capital needs or a multiple of EBITDA.

It depends on the transaction. Some cash flow-based loans include revolving lines of credit governed by current assets that may require a field exam. Others are based on leverage alone and my not require a field exam. Contact a member of the team to determine what is appropriate for a specific situation.

It depends on the transaction, but it could require any combination of field exam, quality of earnings report, appraisals, market study, background check and legal. We are cost conscious and will leverage the due diligence that our equity partners are completing. 

Companies with a history of reliable cash flow are the best candidates for cash flow-based loans. Common circumstances to consider cash flow-based loans may include:

  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Capital expenditures
  • Expansion
  • Dividend recapitalizations
  • Leveraged buyouts

Companies located in the United States with at least 3 years in business and EBITDA of at least $1MM.

From the signing of term sheets, transactions typically close within six to eight weeks. However, the amount of time required is highly dependent on due diligence requirements (if applicable mix of field exams, appraisals, etc.), flow of information, and negotiations of loan documents. We provide quick initial indications of interest after receiving financial information and strive to provide credit-vetted term sheets within one week of receiving required financial information.

We offer competitive risk-adjusted pricing for loans and seek reimbursement for required third party due diligence. Estimates can be provided upon request.

To learn more about sponsor financing opportunities at First Financial, please contact a member of our team to discuss a tailored solution to meet your needs.

All data represented is based on 2020 reporting and results.

All loans subject to credit review and approval.

Fees may apply. Contact us for further detail.