Jeff Steigelman's headshot on a tessellated gold background
Jeff Steigelman's headshot on a tessellated gold background

A message from your market president

This region is known for its powerhouse business environment with diverse industries, strong infrastructure, and top-tier talent. We are grateful to be part of this community, with dedicated lending offices in both Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Your local First Financial team takes pride in offering friendly, personalized customer service with a robust portfolio of lending products. You bring the passion for your work, and we’ll bring the right-sized solutions to help you reach your goals.
Jeff Steigelman
Market President
Chicago & Northwest Indiana

Featured deals

Design and Fabrication Studio | Seth Freeman

Auto Maintenance & Convenience Chain | Eric Evans

Meet the team

Meet our team serving Chicago and Northwest Indiana's commercial businesses.

Jeff Steigelman Headshot
Jeff Steigelman
Regional Market President

A commercial banker for nearly three decades, Jeff helps family and privately held businesses and their owners achieve their goals by thinking outside of the box and providing creative solutions and ideas. 

Jeff joined First Financial in 2022, bringing his passion for partnering with businesses and business owners across many different industries and supporting them through the challenges they face. Jeff draws upon his experience and network to provide clients with a value-add banking relationship tailored to their specific needs. 

He started his Chicagoland banking career at LaSalle Bank, and prior to joining First Financial Bank, Jeff was the Market President of Chicago for Valley Bank (formally Bank Leumi USA). Jeff has held multiple Commercial Banking leadership positions across financial institutions such as CIBC (formally The Private Bank), Wintrust and Fifth Third Bank and established specialized divisions at the latter two banks focused on the construction, engineering, and architectural industries. 

Jeff, his wife Michelle, and three boys reside in Glen Ellyn.  Jeff is currently a member of Lookingglass Theatre’s Board of Directors as its Treasurer, is active in his community as a volunteer coach for the Park District and is a supporter and fundraiser for a variety of non-profit organizations.

Eric D. Evans Headshot
Eric D. Evans
Market President, Northwest Indiana

Eric Evans has more than 20 years of commercial banking experience as both a Relationship Manager and in leadership roles. His experience spans a number of industries, and he has also worked with many high-net-worth individuals.

Evans takes pride in the success he achieved in 2019, when he secured one of the single largest bank deals in First Financial’s history—a client who still happily partners with the bank to this day. On numerous occasions he has been honored to be selected for the First Financial Leaders Circle in recognition of his success in both production and service.

True to First Financial’s value of being proudly local, Eric is active in his community. He serves on the boards for the non-profits Tradewinds, Family Focus, Lakeshore Public Media, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Northwest Indiana, and the local SBA 504 group.

He is a self-described “gym rat,” making time to work out as much as possible. He has completed more than a dozen half marathons and three full marathons, including the London Marathon.

Seth Freeman Headshot
Seth Freeman
Senior Relationship Manager

As a Senior Relationship Manager, Seth provides personalized service for the day-to-day management of his clients’ financial activities. Seth specializes in tailoring custom strategies for his clients while becoming their strategic partner and trusted advisor.

Prior to Seth’s 15 years in commercial banking, he was the Chief Operating Officer of a distributor in Chicago. He understands business, making him the ideal financial partner.

Seth has worked with companies of all sizes, from small to $250MM. He was previously recognized as a National Achiever and the top Relationship Manager in Illinois. He was also a multi-pinnacle award winner as both a Senior Relationship Manager and a Commercial Market Leader.

Proudly local within his community, Seth is a board member of the Minooka Community High School Foundation for Educational Excellence. For several years Seth has also been a volunteer for SCORE, which fosters vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.  He mentors a large range of business owners from start-up through mature and assists in business plans, operations, marketing, capital, new product launches, and any other need. To date, he has mentored over 35 business owners.

When choosing a Bank, isn’t it refreshing to know that your Banker has a solid understanding of your company’s needs?

Brian Boilek Headshot
Brian Boilek
Senior Relationship Manager, Middle Market

Brian Boilek is a Chicagoland / Northwest Indiana middle market commercial banker with more than 30 years of experience sourcing and managing commercial and industrial client relationships.  He was drawn to joining First Financial Bank due to its established and respected market presence with local leadership, decision making and commitment to the market he calls on.

During his illustrious banking career, he has been fortunate to work with dozens of the most recognizable business names, leaders and financial sponsors in this market. He has also held board positions and memberships in numerous economic development organizations and nonprofits throughout the market. Brian currently sits on the Indiana University Northwest Business School Advisory Board.  In 2015, the Northwest Indiana Times recognized Brian on their annual list of “Top Professionals to Watch” in the Northwest Indiana market.

When he isn’t dedicating time and energy to his clients, he enjoys playing golf and volunteering as an assistant coach for the Munster High School varsity baseball team.

David Nelson Headshot
David Nelson
Senior Commercial Banker

With more than 12 years in the banking industry, David Nelson is currently a Senior Commercial Banker for First Financial Bank ready to deliver quality service to the Chicagoland area. Nelson takes pride in First Financial’s ability to provide national lending capabilities with a hometown feel, and he is excited by the opportunity to bring these qualities newly to the Chicagoland region.

Prior to joining First, Nelson spent 11 years in a Construction, Engineering & Architecture (CE&A) Division. This experience provides a keen understanding of the business, cyclicality, seasonality, and other features of the industries, preparing him to effectively serve contractors. He is passionate about getting to know a business and creating tailored financial solutions specific to its needs. He also has a strong credit background, spending time in Purchased/Managed Assets Division and working on bank acquisitions including both FDIC loss share failed banks and non-FDIC loss share acquisitions.

One notable professional achievement includes when, at a previous institution, Nelson self-sourced a $350MM Mechanical Contractor, originating a $20MM RLOC and bringing over $50MM+ in deposits. Nelson took the time to build a relationship with the owner, which led to a meeting with the CFO and the opportunity to bid on the full business relationship, which ultimately led to the company transitioning the full banking relationship within a year. Nelson also sustains long-lasting relationships with clients, bringing many with him as he transitioned to his role at First Financial. This includes hitting the ground running and closing on a $7MM loan facility for a restoration company.

Additional achievements include:

  • Assisting in due diligence and workout in both FDIC loss share and non-FDIC bank acquisitions and leading the audit which led to the buyout of a bank out of the FDIC loss share program.
  • Led the team for PPP loan origination processes and provided training as to the underwriting of the PPP loans.
  • Spearheading the process to get First Financial approved for the Advantage Illinois Program, a Federally funded program that will leverage $220 million in funding to support Illinois small businesses.

In addition to his work, Nelson has served as Treasurer and on the Executive Board of The Tuskegee NEXT Foundation, which builds on the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen by providing a path to aviation careers for under-represented youth. He has also been a lifelong volunteer for Wish Upon A Star in Joliet, which grants wishes to terminally ill children. He is also a member of the Rotary Club, a beekeeper, and huge George Clooney fan.

Dmitry Yeliseev, CFA Headshot
Dmitry Yeliseev, CFA
Managing Director, Structured Capital & Financial Sponsors

Dmitry brings over 20 years of commercial banking and capital markets experience. His deep knowledge, understanding and connectivity in the private equity universe will help build out and lead the growing effort by First Financial around financial sponsors activity and deal opportunities.

Prior to joining First Financial Bank in late 2023, Dmitry spent 20 years with Fifth Third, where he most recently was a founding member and senior coverage banker with Financial Sponsors Group at Fifth Third Capital Markets.

B.S. Science (Roosevelt University)
MBA, Finance (Roosevelt University)
CFA Charter (CFA Institute)

Sean Kelleher Headshot
Sean Kelleher
Managing Director, ESOP Finance Group

Sean is the Managing Director of The ESOP Finance Group at First Financial Bank. His focus is on advising company owners and bankers on the benefits of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) and understanding the complex issues surrounding these transactions.

Sean has 30+ years’ experience in commercial banking working with complicated financing transactions and problem solving. Throughout his career, he has led multiple teams in national and regional bank’s Commercial Real Estate Lending Group, Special Assets Group, Credit Group, Structured Finance Group, Transportation Group and ESOP Finance Group. His real estate experience includes financing land developers, home builders and all types of commercial properties. During the height of the last financial downturn, he was called upon by the bank to help clients maneuver the unchartered financial waters of the recession. The specialty lending groups in Structured Finance, Transportation and ESOP have allowed Sean the experience to work with and advise companies across many different industries. His experience and background have led to a track record of high performing teams across the country with a strong influence in change management. Sean takes pride in the nimble, “boutique” quality of First Financial.

Sean’s current role as Managing Director of the ESOP Finance Group at First Financial Bank allows him the opportunity to work directly with business owners and bankers to give them a complete understanding of / and the best options available to them for their ownership transition questions. He serves as a trusted advisor to a broad range of clients across the country, from billion-dollar clients to smaller local companies, from coast to coast and in every industry.

Sean’s quality performance has twice earned him recognition in the Annual Leaders Circle. He is also a member of the National and Regional ESOP Associations, the ESOP Associations Finance Committee and The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO). When not delivering top-tier client service, he enjoys traveling, cheering for Chicago’s, Notre Dame’s, and Purdue’s sports teams, as well as watching movies with his family.

Lisa Fick Headshot
Lisa Fick
WORKlife Specialist
NMLS ID: 834809

Lisa Fick has been in the banking industry for 18 years and just celebrated her 16th anniversary with First Financial Bank. She started her journey with First Financial as a part-time Teller, and over the next few years advanced her career through the roles of Assistant Branch Manager and then on to a Branch Manager. She joined the WORKlife team as a Specialist in 2021.

After spending 15 years assisting our community with their financial needs in a banking center, she was excited to take on this new role. While her time in a banking center provided her with the opportunity to extend beneficial services to the public, it also gave her insight to the fundamental need for Financial Education and “meeting people where they are” for their banking needs.

From budgeting to saving, it pays to have a plan. With help from First Financial Bank’s f1RST WORKlife, clients can gain valuable knowledge from professionals on personal finances, get access to online financial tools, learn about savings options and more.

“Meeting people where they are” is the space she works in as a WORKlife Specialist. Not only at their place of work but where they are in their life. “It’s the reason I love my role here at First Financial Bank! Providing valuable financial education AND an avenue for tailored financial services for the employees of local businesses continues to be a rewarding career!” says Lisa.

Harry Langbehn, Jr. Headshot
Harry Langbehn, Jr.
Business Specialist

With a career in banking spanning more than 30 years, Harry has experience on the front lines and as a financial leader, with the last six years focused on small businesses.  He derives satisfaction from learning about different industries and hearing the origin stories of clients and their businesses. Knowing their stories provides inspiration and motivation to help them achieve their financial dreams.

Harry is proud of the culture at First Financial, its emphasis on community involvement and the support he receives as he acts as a champion for his clients. He has experience working with a wide variety of clients across several industries, finding the right-size banking and lending solutions to help them make and save money, as well as grow their business and support their communities.

Living the First Financial value of being Proudly Local, Harry serves on the Board of the Portage Family YMCA, the Hobart Chamber, and Northwest Indiana Community Action Corporation. When not serving clients of his community, you can find him outside riding his bike or enjoying a run in the sunshine.

Dustin Hlavaty, AIF® Headshot
Dustin Hlavaty, AIF®
Wealth Advisor

With more than 18 years in the wealth advisory industry, Dustin brings vast experience in working with clients on financial planning and investment management to best prepare them for retirement and beyond. Dustin joined the Yellow Cardinal team in 2016. He also specializes in working with businesses on their Retirement Plan Services, helping them to design and implement a plan that best suits the needs of the company and its participants.

In 2018, Dustin was recognized as a top advisor for Yellow Cardinal and has been in the Leaders Circle for top sales several quarters throughout his time with First Financial. In line with First Financial’s value of being Proudly Local, Dustin likes to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity builds in Northwest Indiana. He also enjoys volunteering for the local Junior Achievement program, as he feels financial education is a critical part of building our communities.

In his spare time, when he isn’t golfing or spending time with his daughter, Dustin likes to dabble with woodworking and carpentry projects, anything from building tables and chairs to remodeling projects.

Charo Daniels Headshot
Charo Daniels
Senior Private Banking Officer
NMLS ID: 1186731

Charo began her career 24 years ago as a mortgage loan officer and gained valuable experience as a Financial Center Manager.  She then transitioned to a role in Wealth Management in 2019, where she was responsible for identifying new opportunities and building strong relationships with private wealth clients. Charo is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Finance and Chartered Financial Consultant designation to enhance the quality of service she can provide to her clients.

Charo enjoys being an active member of her community and currently volunteers for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Cradles to Crayons and Habitat for Humanity.  She is also actively involved in Women In Network, Chicago Urban League, and the Executive Leadership Council, where she networks with other members around the country.

She lives in Chicago with her two yorkies, Ike & Precious.  Charo’s daughter, Daisha, serves in the U.S. Army National Guard as a First Lieutenant in Virginia Beach, VA.  In her spare time, Charo enjoys rehabbing old furniture, running along Lake Shore Drive lakefront with “Girls who Like to Run” group, shopping, and spending time with family.