Jan. 25, 2021 - First Financial Bank (Nasdaq: FFBC) and its Foundation have established a new Minority Small Business Fund that will provide $80,000 to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) for distribution to small, minority-owned businesses in the Indianapolis area.
“First Financial Bank has prioritized its support for minority small businesses, which are often undercapitalized and have a difficult time qualifying for traditional bank financing,” said Roddell McCullough, director of Community Development for First Financial Bank. “Providing funding through local economic development organizations such as LISC is reflective of the creative approach we’re using to help these businesses access working capital so they can grow and benefit their home communities.”
Funds will be distributed in the form of grants for small, minority-owned businesses with a limited number of employees. LISC will administer the grants and manage local distribution.
“We are grateful for this funding from First Financial Bank, which allows us to intentionally reach even more incredible minority small businesses with small relief grants,” said Natalia Rodriguez-Hilt with LISC Indianapolis. “Moving into 2021, the need to invest in these businesses persists. Our hope is to continue supporting Indianapolis small businesses as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.”
Rodriguez-Hilt said that the funds from First Financial Bank will go toward funding a fourth grant round from the LISC Indianapolis Small Business Relief Grants, which aim to address the challenges of COVID-19 with a distinct focus on equity and inclusion. This next round from LISC is planned for early to mid-2021.
Overall, the First Financial Bank Minority Small Business Fund will distribute a total of $250,000 this year through local economic development organizations in Columbus, Ohio; Dayton; Indianapolis; Louisville; and Northwest Indiana. These organizations will in turn distribute to minority small businesses in their areas.
This newest initiative builds upon First Financial Bank’s record of lending to and supporting minority-owned businesses and businesses in emerging markets. First Financial is more than halfway toward the $1.7 billion goal in its 5-year Community Benefits Agreement from 2018, which focuses on lending and investments with minority clients and in minority census tracts. First Financial has also supported minority-owned businesses by increasing the diversity of its vendor outsourcing by more than 50 percent in the last two years.
First Financial Bancorp. is a Cincinnati, Ohio based bank holding company. As of September 30, 2020, the Company had $15.9 billion in assets, $10.2 billion in loans, $11.6 billion in deposits and $2.2 billion in shareholders’ equity. The Company’s subsidiary, First Financial Bank, founded in 1863, provides banking and financial services products through its six lines of business: Commercial, Retail Banking, Investment Commercial Real Estate, Mortgage Banking, Commercial Finance and Wealth Management. These business units provide traditional banking services to business and retail clients. Wealth Management provides wealth planning, portfolio management, trust and estate, brokerage and retirement plan services and had approximately $2.8 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2020. The Company operated 143 full service banking centers as of September 30, 2020, primarily in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, while the Commercial Finance business lends into targeted industry verticals on a nationwide basis. Additional information about the Company, including its products, services and banking locations, is available at www.bankatfirst.com.
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