CINCINNATI, OHIO – First Financial Bank (Nasdaq: FFBC) has announced two major initiatives to support clients and communities that are being impacted by Coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic, including a series of wide-ranging client relief programs and a pledge of $1 million for community support from the First Financial Foundation.
Hardship Relief Program
First Financial’s Hardship Relief Program has been launched to help consumers, small businesses, and commercial clients who are experiencing adverse economic effects due to the impact of Coronavirus. Effective immediately, impacted clients may request to defer payments up to 90 days on installment and auto loans, mortgage loans, home equity loans, and credit cards, without impacting their credit report or incurring late fees during the deferral period.
The bank is also suspending vehicle repossessions and will not initiate foreclosure actions for residential properties for the next 60 days.
First Financial is taking similar steps to help businesses. Clients with business loans may qualify for loan modification programs, and may make interest-only payments or defer payments up to 90 days without incurring late fees. Additionally, First Financial Relationship Managers are available to help businesses take advantage of the U.S. Small Business Administration Direct Loan Program that recently launched. Commercial clients can work one-on-one with Relationship Managers to assess needs and take advantage of relief solutions, such as interest-only payments or deferred payments for up to 90 days.
Clients who are experiencing hardship can take advantage of these relief programs by calling a Relationship Manager to discuss options. A full list of phone numbers is available online at www.bankatfirst.com and through the First Financial mobile app. Clients can call the new First Financial Coronavirus Hotline toll free at (844) 897-9563, available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. First Financial has also established a Coronavirus Customer Hardship Assistance Form, which can be accessed at www.bankatfirst.com. Upon completion of the assistance form, a First Financial banker will reach out to clients to discuss options.
First Financial clients also have several options enabling them to bank from home. Most First Financial products can be opened online or by phone. The bank is adjusting fees and procedures to simplify remote deposits, phone transactions with banking centers and call centers, ATM access and online account access. Clients can also use drive-through lanes at banking centers. Access to banking center lobbies is temporarily limited to protect the health and safety of clients and associates. However, essential services that cannot be handled electronically or by phone, such as loan originations and closings and access to safe deposit boxes, can be scheduled by appointment to meet with a Relationship Manager.
First Financial Foundation Pledge
Many organizations throughout First Financial’s footprint are mobilizing to help provide assistance to those impacted economically by Coronavirus. First Financial Foundation is contributing $1 million to help fund COVID-19 relief efforts in these communities. The contribution will put funds in the hands of agencies actively working throughout communities, such as United Way, United Fund, and other community agencies also managing COVID-19 relief efforts.
“With these payment relief programs and our Foundation’s pledge, we want to help our clients and communities to focus on staying healthy and safe,” said Archie Brown, president and CEO. “We are staffed and open for business, and we embrace the opportunity to help our clients and our communities during this difficult time.”
First Financial is providing ongoing updates about its response to COVID-19 online at www.bankatfirst.com.