In The News

First Financial adding name to skyline

DOWNTOWN — Workers began adding
First Financial Bancorp’s name to the city’s
skyline on Friday.

The two-week project that involves
installing 310-pound letters to the east
and south sides of the old Chemed
Building, now called the First Financial
Center, caps the bank’s move of its
headquarters last fall.

“Our new building and signage helps us
visibly show our commitment to the Queen
City as well as establishes our company as
an integral part of the downtown
community,” chief executive officer Claude
Davis said in a statement.

The region’s largest community bank, with
$6.4 billion in assets and 136 branches in
Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, first moved
downtown in 2010 after a flurry of
acquisitions nearly doubled its size. On
solid financial footing before the 2008
financial crisis, the bank took over two
rivals and bought dozens of branches from
two others.

While the banking subsidiary remains
based in Hamilton, Davis moved the
holding company’s headquarters to
Norwood in 2008, then downtown to raise
the company’s profile and attract more business.

He said the downtown
headquarters is a draw for clients seeking
commercial loans and it helps recruit top

In all, 2.5 tons of aluminum will be affixed
to the 31-story building. The letters are
being installed two at a time, and one letter
is estimated to take six workers four hours
to complete. The new signage will also use
86 gallons of paint.

The tallest of the letters – a lowercase ‘f’ –
is 14 feet high. First Financial shares closed
on Friday at $16.21, down 10 cents.