First Financial buying Indy lender in $110M deal

Cincinnati-based First Financial Bancorp has agreed to pay $110 million to acquire Indianapolis-based Oak Street Holdings Corp., a lender to insurance agents and brokers, the bank announced Thursday afternoon.

Oak Street, which has 60 employees, provides funding, lending, and servicing to insurance agents and brokers across the country.

First Financial Bancorp is the holding company for First Financial Bank, which has 12 Indianapolis-area branch locations. The bank employs more than 1,400 across its three-state footprint including Ohio and Kentucky, including about 360 in Indiana.

The deal, expected to be complete in 30 days, is subject to regulatory approval.

“We view our partnership with Oak Street as a tremendous opportunity to expand and diversify our service offerings and also provide Oak Street’s team with the balance sheet and funding capacity necessary to continue to grow the business,” First Financial CEO Claude Davis said in prepared remarks. “We have experience and are very comfortable with nationwide specialty lending."

Oak Street will continue to operate using the same name after the acquisition, and its staff will remain intact. Rick Dennen, Oak Street's president and CEO, will remain in his current position.

First had $7.2 billion in assets, $4.8 billion in loans, and $5.7 billion in deposits as of March 31. Oak Street had $242 million in assets as of June 30.

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