Freedom Bank expanding to Shell Knob and Golden

Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Rusty Newman

A mutual agreement has been reached between Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri and Community Bank of Shell Knob and Golden that will allow Freedom Bank to purchase the assets and acquire the deposits of Community Bank.

The transfer is scheduled to take place at the close of business on Friday, April 5. The Shell Knob and Golden locations will reopen as Freedom Bank branches on Monday, April 8.

"Freedom Bank started as and continues to be a community bank focused on meeting the needs of the Barry County community and adjoining counties," said Stan Kelley, Freedom Bank chief executive officer (CEO). "This was a great opportunity for us to expand into eastern Barry County and the Shell Knob and Golden area where there has been a lot of growth around the lake.

"There are a lot of people living in the area who we feel Freedom Bank will be a benefit to," continued Kelley. "We have a large customer base there now and know that it will benefit them to have a branch that is more accessible to them."

Kelley has announced that Rusty Newman will serve as the president of the Shell Knob and Golden locations. Newman, who graduated from Cassville High School in 2000, has seven years of experience in loan and operations services at Freedom Bank.

"We think Rusty is an excellent fit for the communities of Shell Knob and Golden due to his background, experience and customer service skills," said Kelley. "He is very customer oriented, and we know that he will instill that in the associates who will be providing service at those locations."

Newman earned an associates degree at Crowder College before completing a bachelor's degree in ag systems management with a minor in economics and a master's degree in economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Newman's career with Freedom Bank began in 2005 when he served in an internship position at the local bank. He was offered a full-time position after he completed his college education in May of 2006.

"I started on the teller line," said Newman. "Then, I moved into operations, customer service and new accounts."

Newman began serving at Freedom Bank's branch in Seligman when it opened in 2006. At that location, he served as assistant operations officer and was in charge of overseeing the tellers, new account services, ATM operations and scheduling. He also began working in lending services.

After three and a half years, Newman returned to Freedom Bank's main location in Cassville and began training under Virgil Harrington, EVP (executive vice president) and CFO (chief finance officer).

"I learned a lot about the reporting of the bank and also continued to work with new accounts and in customer service," said Newman.

In this position, Newman also worked with bank auditors and examiners, board reporting and the bank's security portfolio. He also served as the teller supervisor in Cassville.

In addition to on-the-job training, Newman has attended two bank management training programs. In September of 2009, he attended the Financial Managers School offered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison's graduate school of banking, and in January of 2011, he graduated from the Missouri School of Bank Management, offered through the Missouri Bankers' Association.

As Newman moves into the leadership position at the Shell Knob and Golden branches, Newman will be heavily involved in the lending services at both branches. He will also oversee the tellers and help with new accounts. Between the two locations, Newman will oversee around eight bank associates.

"I'm excited to become a part of the communities of Shell Knob and Golden and look forward to meeting the people in both communities," said Newman. "I hope that residents in that area will come visit Freedom Bank and allow us to share information with them about the services we offer."

The new Shell Knob and Golden branches will offer new, expanded lobby and drive-through hours. ATMs will also be installed at both locations in the near future.

Founded in 1999, Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri is locally owned. The addition of the Shell Knob and Golden locations will allow the bank to serve customers at five banking facilities across southern Missouri. Headquartered in Cassville, the bank also has branches in Seligman and Willard.

Freedom Bank offers a wide variety of products and services with competitive rates on both loans and deposits.

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