Heritage Bank name changes to First Financial on Saturday

Heritage Bank USA Inc. will officially merge into First Financial Bank on Saturday.

The bank announced the merger in January; however, Heritage CEO and President John Peck said in a phone interview Tuesday that the merger is expected to be complete Friday.

"Saturday will be the first day we operate under the new name First Financial Bank," Peck said.

First Financial, headquartered in Terre Haute, Indiana, has assets of approximately $3 billion and operates 65 banking centers in east-central Illinois and west-central Indiana. With the merger, First Financial will have total combined consolidated assets of approximately $3.9 billion, according to the release.

Headquartered in Hopkinsville, Heritage Bank was chartered in 1879 and has been serving the tri-state area for more than 130 years, according to the company's website.

Heritage operates 18 bank branches — 11 branch offices in Kentucky in the communities of Benton, Cadiz, Calvert City, Elkton, Fulton, Hopkinsville and Murray, and seven branch offices in Tennessee in the communities of Ashland City, Clarksville, Erin, Kingston Springs and Pleasant View.

Peck, who will become market president for the Kentucky and Tennessee region, said there are no plans to close any branches.

"We continue to find opportunities to expand," he said. "As we move forward in our new relationship with First Financial, I look to the future with optimism that it will mean continued growth for our community and our customers.

Peck said customers will be able to utilize additional ATMs in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana.

Heritage stockholders have the option to receive cash, stock with First Financial Bank or both, Peck noted.

"We appreciate our relationship with our stockholders through the years," Peck said. "We've been a part of this community since 1879, and we have had shareholders in this community because they were customers."

Reach Zirconia Alleyne at 270-887-3243 or zalleyne@kentuckynewera.com.

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