In September, First Financial Bank announced a realignment within the bank to support its Premier Business Bank strategy to focus on deepening relationships with clients. The cornerstone of this strategy is alignment across all areas of the bank. As a part of the realignment, First Financial Bank is consolidating its national platform businesses, Oak Street Funding and First Franchise Capital into First Commercial Finance. Both businesses will continue to operate under their individual brands.
Rick Dennen (president of Oak Street Funding since inception) with his deep experience in commercial specialty lending, will be leading the combined organizations. The integration will provide a renewed focus around the customer experience for franchise clients by not only leveraging Oak Street proprietary technology but by also surrounding the sales and service staffs with focused rather than fragmented support. Support will be derived from a group of experts in specialty lending in marketing, legal and customer support. This leveraging of Oak Street’s well respected brand, process and knowledge will provide the foundation for further development of the Franchise business and will better position it for long-term sustainable growth.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to welcome the First Franchise Capital team and business into the Oak Street family,” says Rick Dennen, president of First Commercial Finance, the internal name for the two entities. “D. Scott Clarke, Oak Street’s Chief Operation Officer, will be leading the integration efforts. He is very focused not only on the integration, but on our initial goal of identifying opportunities to make an immediate impact to our employee and customer experiences,” added Dennen.
“The move to integrate the Franchise business will enable that business to focus on growth and the future; we are and will remain in the Franchise finance business,” says D. Scott Clarke, COO of Oak Street Funding and leader of the Franchise integration and strategy. “We will be focused on improving the franchise client experience, efficiency and overall business metrics. The franchise client experience and its impact on our brand will be the dominant theme in all of our future plans and initiatives.”