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August 21, 2011

First Financial Bank named one of world’s top 1,000

The Banker, a London-based investment and commercial banking journal, has again named First Financial Bank among the top 200 banks in America and in the top 1,000 banks in the world.

The journal, owned by the Financial Times Group, named the bank, which operates in Indiana and Illinois among the best in the nation and the world based on its assets, real profits growth and “other performance factors,” bank officials said.

“We’re proud of our company,” said Norman L. Lowery, vice chairman and chief executive officer of First Financial Corp., the holding company for the bank, adding “anything that this company achieves is because of the people who work here. They are the ones that do it.”

There are more than 9,000 banks in the United States, so to be named in the top 200 banks is quite an honor, Lowery said.

In addition to First Financial Bank, the corporation holdings include Forrest Sherer Insurance and The Morris Plan Company. Data used to calculate the bank’s rating would have included figures from The Morris Plan, a savings and loan company, Lowery added.

“We’ve been recognized before for certain performance factors, but when you are thrown into a category with world banks, it changes our perspective a little bit,” Lowery said.

First Financial Bank is a network of community banks in Indiana and Illinois, he said, so to be compared with the best banks in the world, “we’re proud of that. But if there is an honor in it, we accept on behalf of our employees,” he said.

First Financial Bank is the oldest national bank in Indiana and the fifth oldest national bank in the United States, bank officials said. The bank was originally established in 1834 as the Second State Bank of Indiana.

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