Nearly 20 years ago, David Snyder met Kevin Gavin, and the two quickly became good friends and business associates. Now Gavin, owner of Ancient Infusions and makers of the famous Pappy’s Sassafras Tea, is a client of Snyder’s. Snyder is one of First Financial Bank’s top private bankers in Cincinnati.

“David has always been a trusted advisor,” says Gavin, who accesses multiple services from FFB, including a personal mortgage, business loans, deposit accounts, investment accounts and financial planning. That’s what’s wonderful — that through private banking, any client need can be taken care of, whether it’s personal or business-related.

“Private banking is like the concierge at a hotel,” Snyder says. “You come to a singular person, discuss your needs, and the private banker then assembles the team within the bank to accomplish each of those individual needs.”

When Gavin needed to refinance his mortgage, Snyder pulled in one of his mortgage loan officers. For Gavin’s business loans, Snyder brought in one of his colleagues who handles business and commercial loans. He also introduced a wealth manager to take care of Gavin’s investment needs. Through it all, Snyder remains the singular point of contact for Gavin, which has created a great deal of trust.

“That hearkens back to the fact that we’ve known each other for so long,” Gavin says. “The fact that I can call David at any point and have a dedicated resource there at First Financial is very valuable to me.”

Gavin appreciates First Financial not only because they have everything he needs in terms of financial management tools and top-notch technology but also because they are a local institution that is dedicated to serving the community. First Financial’s footprint is mostly in southern and middle Ohio, including Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton, though they also stretch into parts of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

“They are a bank that’s proud of the part of the country that they are headquartered in, and they provide both donations and lending to support those communities across the Midwest region,” Gavin says. In 2019, First Financial Bank committed $1 million over five years to community development.

While FFB covers this area of the Midwest, they are large enough that they can take care of the needs of their larger clients. 

“We truly are full-service for our clients and offer a full suite of solutions to help them with their day to day banking, borrowing, and investment needs,” says Snyder, who received accolades earlier this year for being named a top private banker for the first quarter. “Not only that, but we have a holistic team that can help with things like financial planning, business succession planning, and trust services. We can even bring in the experience of our commercial department for any of our clients who own businesses.”

The goal is to make First Financial a one-stop shop for their clients. That’s precisely why First Financial has put a significant amount of capital, resources, and infrastructure into making sure that their private bankers can provide the kinds of services that clients like Gavin need.

Gavin, who through the years has worked with multiple institutions, is impressed by the big-picture focus and understanding that he gets from everyone he interacts with at First Financial.

“They take the time to understand all of our resources and all of our needs,” says Gavin, whose family-owned company produces the highest quality small-batch tea concentrates. Their cornerstone product is Pappy’s Sassafras Tea, and they are the only ones in the world who make it. More than once, the two friends have chatted over a glass of this tasty tea.

“The sassafras flavor is really good!” Snyder says. “It’s like drinking a lemon-root beer tea. And what’s better, there’s no sugar and zero calories.”

Gavin notes that their business actually improved during the pandemic since people were buying food at grocery stores more than eating out. Plus, for those interested in improving their health and fitness during quarantine, many found the tea a healthy alternative to soda or sugared water.

Gavin is grateful for their ongoing relationship because that personal connection equals trust and loyalty.

“A lot of times, especially with larger banks, you get put into the mill. It cranks around, and it may or may not get all the information to the people who need to see it to make a halfway-decent decision of doing business together,” Gavin says. “That wasn’t the case with First Financial. Having David as the point person pulling it all together is great. He makes sure all the resources that he has within the bank are getting the same information regarding our financial situation. For a small business owner, that’s crucial.”


First Financial Bank is located at 255 East Fifth St., Suite 700, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. For more information, visit bankatfirst.com

David Synder can be reached at david.snyder@bankatfirst.com or 513-832-6409.