First Financial Northwest in Renton, Wash., has gotten regulatory approval to receive a $70 million dividend from its bank unit.

The dividend, from First Savings Bank Northwest, will help support portions of First Financial's business operations, primarily a stock-repurchase program and the payment of additional dividends to shareholders, as well as cover some ongoing operating expenses.

The bank, under FDIC regulations, must pay the dividend within the next 12 months. It had $900 million in total assets as of June 30.

FDIC approval of the payment "reflects the bank's significant capital strength and will provide us with the flexibility, if we so choose, to continue and/or increase our share-repurchase program and shareholders' dividends," Joseph W. Kiley III, the president and chief executive officer of the bank and company, said in a press release Monday.

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