First Financial Bank recently finalized a $3 million line of credit, along with the City of Cincinnati and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in support of Cincinnati’s Access Fund, assisting their strategy to bring capital, create new opportunities for businesses in contractor and supplier diversity and provide ongoing support and technical assistance.
Of the funds, eighty percent will go towards low-cost credit to small business owners in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The additional twenty percent will support the rural communities First Financial Bank serves throughout their footprint, including both small businesses and small farm operations.
“This initiative was very well-aligned with our strategy here at First Financial Bank. Our initiatives included $510 million in mortgage lending to low- to moderate- income communities and borrowers, $750 million to low- to moderate- income communities for small business lending, $450 million in community development lending and investments, $8.5 million in philanthropy across the bank’s footprint, $25 million in branch distribution and more,” stated Roddell McCullough, Senior Vice President, Community Development Director for First Financial Bank. “We pride ourselves on making a difference in the local communities we serve and we’re very pleased to be part of this.”
The Cincinnati Access Fund is comprised of two loan products that will be offered to Cincinnati-based businesses with a particular focus on women and minority owners. Micro-loans, which First Financial specializes in, are small loans to new and existing businesses that have difficulty accessing traditional models of financing. Standard term loans are loans to small businesses to facilitate growth, both in terms of revenue and employment capacity.
LISC equips struggling communities with the capital, strategy and know-how to become places where people can thrive. They work with local leaders to invest in housing, health, education, public safety and employment – all basic needs that must be addressed so that progress in one is not undermined by neglect in another. With over 30 years of expertise, LISC incubates new solutions, pressing challenges and extensively assists with loans, grants, equity investments and on-the-ground experience with some of the neediest neighborhoods. These efforts help create good places to live, work, do business and raise children.
Archie M. Brown, Jr., President and CEO of First Financial Bank noted, “First Financial believes in making a difference and is committed to support, engage and strengthen local neighborhoods and small businesses as those have a direct impact on economic success. Revitalizing communities and bringing greater economic opportunities to residents is a strong initiative here at the Bank.”