First Financial Bancorp said Tuesday that it has selected PHH Mortgage as a strategic partner for its home mortgage loan business. Under the agreement, PHH Mortgage will provide First Financial with mortgage loan processing, servicing, secondary-market functions, and other mortgage-related loan origination services for new loans. First Financial's mortgage loan officers will use web-based software, while PHH associates will do all of the loan-processing work under the First Financial name.
"It's no secret that competition in the mortgage lending arena has changed greatly in the past decade, especially in the area of technology. This partnership will give us a competitive position that's on a par with the largest and best players in the mortgage industry," said Claude E. Davis, president and chief executive officer of First Financial. "Partnering with PHH gives us a new mortgage loan operating model with more channels for originating loans, freedom to use our name to create brand equity with our clients, and greater access to technology, products, competitive pricing, and world-class client service." A $3.3 billion publicly-owned bank holding company, First Financial Bancorp has 88 banking centers in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.