After a year of growth through failed-bank acquisitions, First Financial Bancorp in Cincinnati posted first-quarter earnings of $11.6 million, more than double what it earned a year earlier.

The $6.5 billion-asset company announced the earnings late Thursday. It said its performance was driven by a 140% increase in its interest income, to $72 million.

Last year was a banner growth year for First Financial, which acquired Peoples Community Bank, Irwin Union Bank and Trust Co. and Irwin Union Bank FSB from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Its assets rose 72.5% in the past year.

But it plans to shed some pieces of those acquisitions, including 10 Irwin Union branches in the West.

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