First Financial buying Flagstar's 22 Indiana branches

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Cincinnati-based First Financial Bancorp, which took over operations of failed Irwin Union Bank of Columbus two years ago, is deepening its Indiana presence with the purchase of all 22 Flagstar Bank branches in the state.

Eighteen are in the Indianapolis area.

First Financial said the $23 million purchase gives it a rare opportunity to expand its presence in the Indianapolis metro area at a time there are few acquisition targets available.

Because there has been so much consolidation in the Indianapolis banking market, the top seven institutions control 75 percent of the deposit base, said Claude Davis, First Financial’s CEO.

“The Flagstar branches, which are concentrated in populated areas within the market, represent one of the most attractive opportunities to continue building our brand in this strategically important market,” he said.

The deposits associated with Flagstar's Indiana franchise totaled $526 million as of June 30, 2011, First Financial said.

Flagstar Bank’s parent, Troy, Mich.-based Flagstar Bancorp, said it is divesting its Indiana holdings to focus on markets where it has a larger presence and sees greater growth potential—Michigan and New England.



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