Communities First Financial Corporation Receives “OUTSTANDING” Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Highest Rating

FRESNO, Calif., May 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Communities First Financial Corporation (the “Company”) (OTCQX: CFST), the parent company of Fresno First Bank (“FFB” or “the Bank”), today announced that the Bank has received the highest rating, “Outstanding,” for its recent Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examination from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), San Francisco Regional Office. The examination period includes the years: 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“We are delighted to receive the highest CRA rating recognizing our strong performance and our proven commitment to serving low- to moderate-income communities,” said Steve Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer.   “I am extremely proud of all of our employees who have taken those extra steps to help our company achieve this ‘Outstanding’ rating. Their commitment to service, compassion and community involvement is why they are our most important and valuable asset. Although we are happy with this rating, we know that there are still many needs in the communities we serve and our team is committed to being a true partner in solving these known issues.”

According to the CRA Performance Evaluation, dated March 1, 2021, FFB experienced a significant increase to both loans and deposits in the second and third quarters of 2020, primarily due to the large number of SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. In addition, the geographic distribution of small business loans reflects excellent dispersion throughout the assessment area.

“While our CRA rating covers an examination period ending December 31, 2020, we continue to make further progress towards meeting the needs of our low- and moderate-income neighborhoods,” added Miller. “In addition to actively serving our communities banking needs, we also support various non-profits including the Fresno Rescue Mission, Central Valley Food Bank, and Boys & Girls Clubs, through donations and our staff volunteering their time to support these organizations.”

To learn more about Fresno First Bank’s positive impact on the communities it serves, please visit: www.FresnoFirstBank.com.

About the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)
The CRA is a 1977 law intended to encourage insured banks and thrifts to meet local credit needs, including those of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. As part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), Congress mandated the public disclosure of an evaluation and rating for each bank or thrift that undergoes a CRA examination on or after July 1, 1990.

About Communities First Financial Corporation
Communities First Financial Corporation, a bank holding company established in 2014, is the parent company of Fresno First Bank, founded in 2005 in Fresno, California. Fresno First Bank is a leading SBA Lender in California’s Central Valley and has expanded into Southern California. The Bank is also a direct acquiring bank with VISA and MasterCard and processes payments for merchants across the country directly and through partners. In March 2021, S&P Global ranked the Bank the #20 best performing community bank under $3 billion in assets for 2020, and #1 in California. Named to the 2019 OTCQX Best 50 and ranked one of the top performing OTCQX companies in the country, based on total return and growth in average daily dollar volume for 2018. The Bank was named to the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list in 2017 and to Forbes Best 25 Small Businesses in America for 2016. Additional information is available from the Company’s website at www.fresnofirstbank.com or by calling 559-439-0200.

Contact: Steve Miller – President & CEO
Steve Canfield – Executive Vice President & CFO
(559) 439-0200


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