First Financial posts first CSR report

First Financial Bank, one of Greater Cincinnati’s largest banks, has created its first corporate social responsibility report.

The CSR report details the bank’s progress in the areas of community development; corporate governance; diversity, equity and inclusion; and sustainability. CSR refers to the concept that a business is not only responsible for creating value for shareholders, but should also seek to benefit the broader community in which it exists.

“Since our founding in 1863, First Financial has been focused on addressing the needs of all our stakeholders, including clients, associates, communities, and the environment,” said Archie Brown, president and CEO of First Financial. “With this report, we are proud to document the progress we have made on our corporate responsibility journey and our commitment to uphold the high standards of accountability that our stakeholders expect and deserve.”

The appointment of Roddell McCullough as the bank’s first chief corporate responsibility officer last year positions the bank to make strong future advancements in these areas, said Brown.

“This report focuses on themes that impact our communities and are the foundation of everything we do at First Financial,” McCullough said. “Our mission is to be a positive influence and to help our clients and communities thrive. We celebrate the strides we have made and look forward to building on this important progress.”

The report examines multiple factors impacting community, employees, environment, and governance. Specific 2021 highlights include:

Community

  • First Financial earned an “Outstanding” rating for its performance under the Community Reinvestment Act.
  • The bank’s purchasing from diverse vendors increased by 54 percent in 2021, for a total of $5.6 million sourced from diverse businesses.
  • $1.7 million was donated by First Financial Bank, and $2.6 million donated by the First Financial Foundation, to organizations that enhance the lives of individuals and communities.
  • First Financial’s “Your Money, Own It” financial literacy program helped 16,305 participants with 798 hours of teaching.

Employees

  • An analysis of pay equity in 2021 confirmed both gender and racial/ethnic parity.
  • 86.5 percent of associates participate in the Bank’s 401k plan.
  • 99 percent of First Financial associates completed diversity, equity and inclusion training.

Environment

  • First Financial invested $1.7 billion in sustainable industries to promote positive social impact, corporate social responsibility, and long-term financial return.
  • First Financial and its associates recycled 441,360 pounds of paper and saved 6 million gallons of water.
  • 64 percent of all deposit statements were delivered electronically.

Governance

  • The report explains the bank’s approach to governance best practices, risk management and data security.

First Financial’s CSR report is available at https://www.bankatfirst.com/about/corporate-social-responsibility.html. The bank has $16 billion in assets and operates more than 130 banking centers in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

While the CSR concept has been around for decades, its importance has grown in recent years as consumers have become more conscious of issues such as climate change, income inequality, health care disparities, unfair labor practices and gender inequity. An estimated 90 percent of companies on the S&P 500 index published a CSR report in 2019, compared to just 20 percent in 2011, according to the Harvard Business School.

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