Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri has received approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Missouri Division of Finance to establish a full-service branch in Willard.
"We are always looking at opportunities that are out there to expand," said Stan Kelley, Freedom Bank president. "We see this as a good growth opportunity. Willard is similar in size to Cassville.
"We generally like to be in communities with populations that are less than 10,000," said Kelley. "This allows us to remain a true community bank and to be able to serve the area the way we want to. Willard fit that mold for us."
A new banking facility will be constructed at 432 W. Jackson in Willard within the next 12 to 24 months. The branch will operate out of a leased modular building until the new facility is complete.
"The new branch will offer all of the services that we offer in Cassville," said Kelley. "It will be a full-service banking facility. All of the services that Freedom has offered in Barry County will be extended to Willard."
The new temporary facility, which will employ six staff members, should be open by mid-June. Kelley's son, Matt, will serve as branch president.
"Matt has eight years of experience in the banking industry in Springfield," said Kelley. "He has served as a branch manager and as a senior vice president at banking facilities in the Springfield area. He lives in and is familiar with the Willard area, which will help the branch build relationships with people in the community.
"One thing that we feel has made Freedom Bank successful locally is our investors who live in the Barry County community," said Kelley. "We have secured investors in Willard as well, who will be able to promote Freedom Bank in that area and help the bank be successful."
Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri received final FDIC approval for the new branch on April 16.