Oak Street Funding, a nationally-recognized lender through its parent Oak Street Holdings Corporation, is taking another step to realize its full potential through a new deal with First Financial Bank.

Oak Street, based in Indianapolis, provides funding, lending, and servicing to insurance agents and brokers throughout the US.

Upon completion of the deal, Oak Street, which had $242 million in assets as of June 30, 2015, will become a subsidiary of First Financial Bank, with Oak Street’s current President and CEO, Rick Dennen, continuing in his current position.

"We are thrilled to become part of First Financial Bank, one of the most respected community banks in the country," Dennen said.

"Like Oak Street, First Financial has an entrepreneurial culture and a nimble organization that will provide a very supportive environment. We look forward to leveraging our combined strengths for continued growth in the future."

Oak Street has been an innovator in commission-based lending for insurance agents and agencies since 2003. Like First Financial, Oak Street provides custom-designed loans to ensure the success of each of their clients.

The use of their internally developed technology and web-based reporting tools empowers their clients to maximize visibility, control and security over their asset portfolio.

"The national lender will continue to operate under the Oak Street name upon completion of the deal due to the company’s thought leadership and proven performance," said Claude Davis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Financial Bank.

The growth continues a trend for First Financial, the second-largest bank based in Cincinnati, as it officially entered the Central Ohio market in 2014 after acquiring Columbus-area banks Guernsey Bancorp, Insight Bank and First Bexley Bank. Overall, the company converted five banking centers in connection to those acquisitions in the third and fourth quarters of 2014.