El Dorado’s First Financial Bank is no stranger to the Little Rock market. The $901 million-asset lender has operated a mortgage production office in the capital city since 1984.
After more than 32 years, First Financial intends to open a full-service branch in Little Rock. The facility represents the company’s first full-service office in Arkansas outside of Union County.
“We do want to expand our retail footprint,” said Chris Hegi, president and CEO of First Financial. “But there are no plans for other full-service branches right now.”
Besides its five offices in El Dorado and one in Smackover, First Financial has two full-service branches plus a loan production office in Mississippi.
The Magnolia State presence is an outgrowth of the 2006 acquisition of the $46 million-asset Cornerstone Bank of Senatobia, a near $8 million transaction.
First Financial has followed its own path, with an emphasis on loan production offices to serve its strong base of poultry lending.
In Arkansas, the bank operates mortgage lending offices in Conway, Jonesboro, Fayetteville and Fort Smith as well as agri lending offices in Mena, Morrilton and Pocahontas.