First Financial announces profitable first quarter

First Financial Bancorp reported net income of $19.8 million, or 32 cents per diluted common share, for the first quarter of this year, compared to $17.6 million, or 29 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2015.

The company matched its net income of $19.8 million, or 32 cents per diluted common share for the fourth quarter of 2015.

Return on average assets for the first quarter of 2016 was .98 percent, while return on average tangible common equity was 13.06 percent. That compares to a return on average assets of .99 percent and return on average tangible common equity of 12.98 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The first quarter results included about $500,000 of pre-tax, non-operating expenses that were related to consolidating six branch locations. Excluding these items, net income was $20.1 million or 33 cents per diluted common share.

Excluding $1 million of pre-tax, non-operating expenses, fourth quarter 2015 net income was $20.5 million or 33 cents per diluted common share.

Chief Executive Officer Claude Davis said the company was pleased with another strong quarter of operating results, producing the company’s 102nd consecutive quarter of profitability.

Davis said loan production remained strong during the first quarter, with balance growth of 8.6 percent on an annualized basis.

First Financial is a Cincinnati, Ohio-based bank holding company with $8.2 billion in assets, $5.5 billion in loans, $6.2 million in deposits and $826.6 million in shareholder’s equity.

First Financial Bank has Columbus offices at 125 Third St., 3950 Jonathan Moore Pike and 2531 Eastbrook Plaza.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.