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First Financial Northwest, Inc. Receives ABA Foundation Community Commitment Award; Announces Participation in Seattle’s First Opportunity Zone Project

November 5, 2019

RENTON, Wash., Nov. 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Financial Northwest, Inc. (“Company”) (NASDAQ GS: FFNW) announced that its bank subsidiary First Financial Northwest Bank (“Bank”) was nationally recognized by the American Bankers Association Foundation with a 2019 ABA Foundation Community Commitment Award for volunteerism. The award was given to the Bank in recognition of its Auction Team, a free service offered to non-profit organizations to assist with their fundraising efforts. The award was presented to the Auction Team leader, Donna A. Dodson, Assistant Vice President and Banking Operations Manager, during the ABA’s Annual Convention in Seattle on October 29, 2019.

First Financial Northwest Bank’s Auction Team provides a team of experienced bankers to assist with various components of an auction, an increasingly popular method of non-profit fundraising, including guest check-in, express pay credit card enrollment, bid tracking, data entry and consolidation, and payment processing. The annual awards recognize banks for their corporate responsibility efforts in seven categories including affordable housing, community and economic development, financial education, economic inclusion, protecting older Americans, supporting military families and volunteerism. The selection committee, made up of independent, national experts in each category, chose the winning banks based on the creativity and thoughtfulness of programs — traditional or innovative in nature and structure — that embody the ideals of corporate social responsibility and demonstrate success in measurable terms.

“First Financial Northwest Bank and our employees are always working to find new and meaningful ways to positively impact our community,” said Joseph W. Kiley, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are humbled and honored to accept this award for our efforts.”

Separately, the Bank announced that it is providing construction financing for the first Qualified Opportunity Zone project to break ground in Seattle. Affordable housing project Canton Lofts is a multifamily development that will deliver 80 units of LEED Silver workforce housing and a 2,400 square foot ground floor retail space in the Pioneer Square neighborhood in late 2020. The Opportunity Zone program was included in the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 signed into law on December 22, 2017, and is designed to provide tax incentives to investors who fund businesses in underserved communities. The construction funding may qualify for consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 in meeting the credit needs of the community serviced by the Bank, including low and moderate income neighborhoods.

“We are very pleased to participate in the first opportunity zone project to break ground in Seattle,” said Kiley. “The project combines our expertise in construction/land lending in the region with our interest in bringing additional socially responsible, affordable housing to markets where there is a clear demonstrated need.” Kiley continued, “This project, which we hope is the first of many, complements our long history of working directly and with specific organizations to provide funding for affordable housing to low- to moderate-income individuals and families.”

To learn more about the ABA Foundation Community Commitment Awards, visit aba.com/awards. Additional information on Opportunity Zones is available at commerce.wa.gov/growing-the-economy/opportunity-zones/.

First Financial Northwest, Inc. is the parent company of First Financial Northwest Bank; an FDIC insured Washington State-chartered commercial bank headquartered in Renton, Washington, serving the Puget Sound Region through 11 full-service banking offices. A twelfth banking office will open in Kirkland, Washington in the fourth quarter of 2019. We are a part of the ABA NASDAQ Community Bank Index and the Russell 2000 Index. For additional information about us, please visit our website at ffnwb.com and click on the “Investor Relations” link at the bottom of the page.

For more information, contact:Joseph W. Kiley III, President and Chief Executive OfficerRich Jacobson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer(425) 255-4400