First Financial Bancorp Announces Appointment of New Chief Financial Officer and Provides Preliminary Fourth Quarter 2012

 First Financial Bancorp Announces Appointment of New Chief Financial Officer
        and Provides Preliminary Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Results

PR Newswire

CINCINNATI, Jan. 18, 2013

CINCINNATI, Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- First Financial Bancorp (Nasdaq:
FFBC) ("First Financial" or the "Company") announced today that Anthony M.
Stollings, EVP and Chief Risk Officer has been named the Company's new Chief
Financial Officer effective January 18, 2013. He will succeed J. Franklin
Hall, EVP, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. It is
expected that Mr. Hall will assist the Company in the transition until his
departure which is expected to be April 30, 2013. Mr. Hall's departure is
unrelated to the Company's financial condition, financial reporting practices
or investments.

Claude E. Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "On behalf of
the board and senior management team, I want to thank Frank for his many
contributions over his more than 13-year tenure with the Company. He has been
an influential leader with a key focus on company-wide financial and
operational disciplines, and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Mr. Hall said, "For over 13 years, I have had the privilege of working with
First Financial Bancorp. Over that time, the Company has nearly doubled in
size and we have positioned it well for future growth and profitability. I
would like to thank my incredible teams for their personal dedication and
extraordinary contributions to the Company's success. I would also like to
thank Claude and the Board of Directors for their many years of support and
encouragement. I look forward to the opportunities that await me and I wish
my colleagues and the Company much continued success."

"Tony, our new CFO, inherits strong and talented finance, accounting,
treasury, and investor relations teams that will appreciate his impressive
breadth of experience," Mr. Davis said. "The Board of Directors and I have
the utmost confidence in Tony's leadership as the new Chief Financial
Officer. Tony has been an integral part of our team since joining the company
in 2006. His leadership skills, strategic insights and financial acumen will
be important contributors to our future success," added Mr. Davis.

Mr. Stollings, 58, joined First Financial in December 2006 as Senior Vice
President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller. He has served as EVP and
Chief Risk Officer since September 1, 2011. He previously spent 13 years with
Provident Financial Group, Inc., a commercial banking and financial services
company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was the Senior Vice
President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller from 2002 to 2004 and
Senior Vice President and Controller from 1998 to 2002. Mr. Stollings will
continue to report to Mr. Davis as Chief Financial Officer as well as serve as
Interim Chief Risk Officer as the Company seeks a successor.

In addition, First Financial today announced preliminary unaudited financial
results for the three months ended December 31, 2012. The Company expects
fourth quarter diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $0.26 to
$0.28, highlighted by approximately 14% annualized uncovered loan growth
during the quarter, net interest margin within the range disclosed in the
Company's third quarter 2012 earnings release and stable credit performance.

The estimated results in this release are preliminary and subject to
completion of First Financial's full year 2012 and fourth quarter financial
statements in conjunction with the Company's upcoming earnings release. First
Financial's audited financial statements will be included in its 2012 Form
10-K to be filed with the SEC in February 2013.

First Financial will report its fourth quarter and full year 2012 financial
results on January 29, 2013 as previously announced.

Forward-Looking Statement
Certain statements contained in this news release which are not statements of
historical fact constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (the ''Act''). In addition,
certain statements in future filings by First Financial with the SEC, in press
releases, and in oral and written statements made by or with the approval of
First Financial which are not statements of historical fact constitute
forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Act. Examples of
forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, projections of
revenues, income or loss, earnings or loss per share, the payment or
non-payment of dividends, capital structure and other financial items,
statements of plans and objectives of First Financial or its management or
board of directors and statements of future economic performances and
statements of assumptions underlying such statements. Words such as
''believes,'' ''anticipates,'' "likely," "expected," ''intends,'' and other
similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements but
are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. Management's
analysis contains forward-looking statements that are provided to assist in
the understanding of anticipated future financial performance. However, such
performance involves risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to
differ materially. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from
those discussed in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited
to:

  omanagement's ability to effectively execute its business plan;
  othe risk that the strength of the United States economy in general and the
    strength of the local economies in which we conduct operations may
    continue to deteriorate resulting in, among other things, a further
    deterioration in credit quality or a reduced demand for credit, including
    the resultant effect on our loan portfolio, allowance for loan and lease
    losses and overall financial performance;
  oU.S. fiscal debt and budget matters;
  othe ability of financial institutions to access sources of liquidity at a
    reasonable cost;
  othe impact of recent upheaval in the financial markets and the
    effectiveness of domestic and international governmental actions taken in
    response, and the effect of such governmental actions on us, our
    competitors and counterparties, financial markets generally and
    availability of credit specifically, and the U.S. and international
    economies, including potentially higher FDIC premiums arising from
    increased payments from FDIC insurance funds as a result of depository
    institution failures;
  othe effect of and changes in policies and laws or regulatory agencies
    (notably the recently enacted Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer
    Protection Act);
  othe effect of the current low interest rate environment or changes in
    interest rates on our net interest margin and our loan originations and
    securities holdings;
  oour ability to keep up with technological changes;
  ofailure or breach of our operational or security systems or
    infrastructure, or those of our third party vendors or other service
    providers;
  oour ability to comply with the terms of loss sharing agreements with the
    FDIC;
  omergers and acquisitions, including costs or difficulties related to the
    integration of acquired companies and the wind-down of non-strategic
    operations that may be greater than expected, such as the risks and
    uncertainties associated with the Irwin Mortgage Corporation bankruptcy
    proceedings and other acquired subsidiaries;
  othe risk that exploring merger and acquisition opportunities may detract
    from management's time and ability to successfully manage our Company;
  oexpected cost savings in connection with the consolidation of recent
    acquisitions may not be fully realized or realized within the expected
    time frames, and deposit attrition, customer loss and revenue loss
    following completed acquisitions may be greater than expected;
  oour ability to increase market share and control expenses;
  othe effect of changes in accounting policies and practices, as may be
    adopted by the regulatory agencies as well as the Financial Accounting
    Standards Board and the SEC;
  oadverse changes in the securities, debt and/or derivatives markets;
  oour success in recruiting and retaining the necessary personnel to support
    business growth and expansion and maintain sufficient expertise to support
    increasingly complex products and services;
  omonetary and fiscal policies of the Board of Governors of the Federal
    Reserve System (Federal Reserve) and the U.S. government and other
    governmental initiatives affecting the financial services industry;
  oour ability to manage loan delinquency and charge-off rates and changes in
    estimation of the adequacy of the allowance for loan and lease losses; and
  othe costs and effects of litigation and of unexpected or adverse outcomes
    in such litigation.

In addition, please refer to our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended
December 31, 2011, as well as our other filings with the SEC, for a more
detailed discussion of these risks and uncertainties and other factors. Such
forward-looking statements are meaningful only on the date when such
statements are made, and First Financial undertakes no obligation to update
any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the
date on which such a statement is made to reflect the occurrence of
unanticipated events.

About First Financial Bancorp
First Financial Bancorp is a Cincinnati, Ohio based bank holding company. As
of September 30, 2012, the Company had $6.2 billion in assets, $3.9 billion in
loans, $4.9 billion in deposits and $716 million in shareholders' equity. The
Company's subsidiary, First Financial Bank, N.A., founded in 1863, provides
banking and financial services products through its three lines of business:
commercial, retail and wealth management. The commercial and retail units
provide traditional banking services to business and consumer clients. First
Financial Wealth Management provides wealth planning, portfolio management,
trust and estate, brokerage and retirement plan services and had approximately
$2.4 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2012. The
Company's strategic operating markets are located in Ohio, Indiana and
Kentucky where it operates 124 banking centers. Additional information about
the Company, including its products, services and banking locations is
available at www.bankatfirst.com.



SOURCE First Financial Bancorp

Website: http://www.bankatfirst.com
Contact: Investors/Analysts, Kenneth Lovik, Vice President, Investor Relations
and Corporate Development, +1-513-979-5837, kenneth.lovik@bankatfirst.com, or
Media, Jenny Keighley, Assistant Vice President, Media Relations Manager,
+1-513-979-5852, jennifer.keighley@bankatfirst.com
 
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