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First Financial quarterly earnings up 9%

First Financial Bancorp on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings of $15.1 million, or 26 cents per diluted common share, a 9 percent increase from the $13.8 million, or 24 cents a share, posted for last year’s first quarter.

The Cincinnati-based parent of First Financial Bank also announced the $13.5 million acquisition of Guernsey Bancorp Inc., which serves the Columbus, Ohio, market. The Guernsey Bank reported $123 million in total assets as of Dec. 31.

First Financial Bank entered the Fort Wayne market in December when it opened a downtown office staffed with more than a dozen former Tower Bank commercial and mortgage loan officers and support staff.

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