Tax changes lead bank to increase wages, contribute $3M to foundation

First Financial Bancorp. STAFF FILE PHOTO
First Financial Bancorp. STAFF FILE PHOTO

First Financial Bancorp will raise the starting wage for all new and existing hourly associates to $15 an hour effective immediately, the company said.

In addition, the bank has made a $3 million contribution to its newly established charitable foundation. First Financial’s announcement comes as a result of the recently passed tax legislation, which includes a reduction in corporate tax rates.

The bank said it strives to provide “fair and competitive salaries and benefits” to its associates.

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Approximately 1,335 associates are employed throughout the First Financial footprint in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. The increase will affect 220 of these associates.

“Our associates are our greatest asset,” Claude Davis, First Financial CEO, said in a statement. “Each day they work to exceed the expectations of our clients, invest time in our communities and live our values.

“We continue to look for ways to attract and reward the best talent to help serve our clients and drive the success of the business, as well as ways to be intentional and impactful with investments in our communities.”

The bank established the First Financial Foundation at the end of 2017 with a $3 million contribution, which will fund future charitable donations, including the commitments outlined in the community investment plan announced in October 2017.

The 5-year, $1.7 billion plan will begin subsequent to the closing of the merger between First Financial Bank and MainSource Bank, anticipated early this year.