---- — MT. VERNON — Sunday morning, residents in the downtown area saw the new sign go up at Bank of America "First Financial Bank."
Monday morning, First Financial Bank, a subsidiary of First Financial Corporation, officially announced it has purchased nine locations in Southern Illinois including the Mt. Vernon facilities. Branches purchased include Benton, Charleston, Hillsboro, Mattoon, Mt. Vernon, Salem and West Frankfort.
"These banking centers opened for normal business hours as First Financial Bank branches on Monday, Aug. 19," information states. "All current banking center staff members are now employees of First Financial."
The information states First Financial Corporation CEO Norman L. Lowery calls the acquisition "a logical extension of the bank's service area."
"These branches are, for the most part, adjacent to our current markets," Lowery stated. "This acquisition allows us to invest in communities we're familiar with."
First Financial Corporation is headquartered in Terre Haute, Ind., and has assets of $2.9 billion. It was founded in 1834, and considered the fifth oldest national bank in the U.S., "still operating under a charter granted when Abraham Lincoln signed the National Currency Act into law in 1863."
"Because we are a community bank, we focus on our customers and the communities we serve," Lowery stated. "Promoting local economic development and growth has always been a priority for us. We look forward to continuing that tradition in our new Illinois locations."