Worthington News

$36.6 million deal

First Financial purchasing Worthington's Insight Bank

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Two days after announcing its plan to enter the central Ohio market by buying a bank in Bexley, Cincinnati-based First Financial Bancorp on Dec. 20 announced that it is making a second purchase.

First Financial will buy Worthington's Insight Bank, 150 W. Wilson Bridge Road, in a deal valued at $36.6 million.

Insight Bank has one full-service office in Worthington and a mortgage-origination office in Newark.

On Dec. 18, First Financial bought First Bexley Bank in a deal worth $44.5 million.

As was the case with the First Bexley deal, First Financial officials said, Insight operates on a similar model as First Financial, one that is focused on the client.

"We really want to make an impact in Columbus and grow beyond the resources of First Bexley and Insight," said Claude Davis, First Financial's president and CEO.

Insight CEO Harvey Glick said suitors have approached the bank in the past, but this deal stood out from the others.

"This particular transaction stacked up," Glick said, noting the "cultural fit" between the two banks.

Insight customers are expected to benefit from expanded product offerings.

Insight, which was founded in 2006, had assets of $200.2 million as of Sept. 30 and posted profits of $1.8 million. The bank has 47 employees, most of whom are expected to stay after the deal is complete.

First Financial has $6.3 billion in assets and operates 110 banking centers in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

For each common share they own, Insight shareholders will get $20.50 -- $16.40 in First Financial stock and $4.10 in cash -- under the terms of the merger agreement.

As part of the deal, First Financial will redeem $4.3 million of preferred stock from the U.S. Treasury Department that Insight had sold to the government in 2011 as part of a program meant to help spur lending to small businesses and create jobs.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2014.

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