News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

March 19, 2013

First Financial to acquire 9 banking locations in Illinois

TERRE HAUTE — First Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: THFF), holding company of First Financial Bank, N.A., announced today that First Financial Bank has entered into an agreement to acquire seven branches and two drive-up locations from Bank of America. The branches are located in the central and southern Illinois communities of Benton, Charleston, Hillsboro, Mattoon, Mount Vernon, Salem and West Frankfort.   

Under the agreement, First Financial Bank will acquire $252.0 million in deposits and $2.3 million in small business loans. The purchase does not include credit card, mortgage, investment brokerage or trust accounts. The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2013, subject to regulatory approval. Once the transaction is complete, First Financial expects most of the employees at these locations to transition to the company.

“This opportunity made sense for us because it supports our long-term strategy of expanding into areas that we already know well,” said Donald E. Smith, chairman of the board of First Financial Corp. “The new locations are a natural extension of First Financial Bank’s existing footprint and will allow us to strengthen our regional presence in Illinois.”

First Financial and Bank of America are working together to ensure a seamless transition for both customers and employees. Customers with accounts at the branches being acquired need not take any action at this time and should continue to use their current checks, debit cards and other products and services.

“We’re pleased to welcome our new customers and look forward to providing them with the exceptional service, security and stability that First Financial is well known for,” Smith said. “As a community bank, we’re committed to putting the people and businesses in our service area ‘first,’ a tradition that will continue as we grow.”

First Financial Bank, founded in 1834, is one of only a few national banks still operating under its original charter, making it the fifth-oldest national bank in the United States. Upon completion of the Bank of America acquisition, First Financial will have 37 branches in Illinois and 36 in Indiana.

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