First Financial completes acquisition of Summit

First Financial Bancorp. said it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Cincinnati-based Summit Funding Group, Inc., the fourth largest independent equipment financing platform in the United States.

“We are excited about the opportunity to provide our clients with additional services through Summit’s extensive leasing capabilities, and we look forward to the growth potential that is created through this acquisition,” said First Financial President and Chief Executive Officer Archie Brown.

Summit Funding Group originates high-quality equipment leases and operates in all 50 states and in Canada. Summit has developed long-standing relationships with original equipment manufacturers, vendors and end users, resulting in high quality, repeatable origination volumes. Throughout the U.S., Summit is known for its diversified and nimble platform, which allows it to finance a variety of equipment types across various financing structures. Currently, Summit manages a portfolio with aggregate original equipment cost of approximately $1 billion and outstanding balances of approximately $500 million, across over 4,000 leases.

Summit now will operate as a subsidiary of First Financial Bank. Current Summit leadership and all associates will continue in their positions, led by founder and CEO Rick Ross. As a subsidiary, Summit retains the name Summit Funding Group, taking advantage of the company’s exceptional brand recognition within the equipment finance industry, particularly with small-to-medium sized businesses.

First Financial’s financial advisor on the transaction was Lazard, and its legal counsel was Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP. Keefe, Bruyette &Woods, a Stifel Company, served as financial advisor to Summit, and Taft Stettinius &Hollister LLP served as legal counsel.

First Financial Bancorp. is a Cincinnati, Ohio based bank holding company with $16.0 billion in assets, $9.4 billion in loans, $12.7 billion in deposits and $2.2 billion in shareholders’ equity. First Financial operated 139 full service banking centers, including locations in Columbus. For more information, visit