Fast-growing First Financial sets stage to raise up to $75M

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First Financial Northwest in Renton, Wash., plans to raise as much as $75 million through the sale of various securities.

The $1.2 billion-asset company on Friday filed a shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The securities could include debt, preferred stock and depository shares, according to the filing. No details about the timing or pricing of the offerings were provided in the filing.

The company did not disclose how it plans to use the proceeds.

First Financial has spent the past few years transforming itself into a commercial bank. The company — which in 2007 became a stock savings bank — rebranded in 2015, ditching its previous name, First Savings Bank Northwest. A year later, it adopted a commercial banking charter.

First Financial has recently expanded through branching. It bought four branches from Opus Bank in Irvine, Calif., last year and has opened five others in the Seattle area since 2015, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It now has 10 branches in King and Snohomish Counties.

In a November interview with the Daily Herald of Everett, Wash., Chief Deposit Officer Dalen Harrison said that the new branches are helping the company attract new customers. Its total deposits increased by nearly 18% since between Dec. 31, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2017, to $859 million, according to the FDIC.

“They will use online sources to do research, but more accounts are actually opened in an eye-to-eye experience with a person,” Harrison said.

First Financial is also looking to expand into new geographic markets.

“We are publicly traded, and with that comes responsibilities to grow earnings every year to meet shareholder expectations,” Chief Financial Officer Rich Jacobson told the Daily Herald. “We need to expand outside of Renton.”

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