Payne, Ohio, is losing its only independently owned bank.

The northwestern Ohio town has been home to Union State Bank for 65 years. But Union State has agreed to be acquired by First Financial Bancorp of Hamilton, Ohio, for $13.6 million.

First Financial will turn Union State into a branch of its Community First Bank and Trust, which has 10 branches in the state.

"This is really going to help us, because it gives us more resources, a higher lending limit, and allows us to offer products that we haven't been able to offer," said Geoffrey L. Hyman, chief executive officer at $60.4 million-asset Union State.

Because of its size, Union State does not offer loans larger than $1.4 million or mortgages that go beyond 15 years.

The deal, which is expected to close in early 1998, follows First Financial's announcement that it was acquiring 11 branches from Cleveland- based KeyCorp. That transaction is expected to close Dec. 5. The KeyCorp branches also will be converted into Community First Bank and Trust locations.

After the two deals First Financial would have $640 million of assets.

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