Freedom Bank, Monett-based CNB to merge

Thursday, January 2, 2020

All branches to become part of Freedom Bank in 2020

Community National Bank, a Monett-based national banking association since 2002, has announced plans to merge with Freedom Bank, a Missouri state-chartered bank located in Cassville.

Community National Bank and its branch in Aurora will become branches of Freedom Bank.

In a statement, Freedom Bank announced its parent bank holding company, Freedom Bancshares of Southern Missouri, had entered into a definitive agreement with Community National Bank for a merger of the two operations under the name of Freedom Bank.

"As is customary, the bank merger is subject to regulatory approvals, a vote of Community National Bank's shareholders, and other conditions precedent," the statement said. "Upon completion of the bank merger, Freedom Bank will have total assets of approximately $430 million, deposits of $367 million, and loans totaling $326 million.

Freedom Bank presently has branches in Cassville, Shell Knob, Golden, Seligman and Willard.

“As our board evaluated many opportunities to partner with another financial institution, Freedom Bank clearly stood out as the best fit for our associates, customers and communities we serve," said Michael Wallace, chairman of Community National Bank said, "Their extraordinary commitment to customer service and employee satisfaction played a significant role in the selection process of Freedom Bank. We are excited about our future together.”

Stan Kelley, president and CEO of Freedom Bank, and Darrin Newbold, president and CEO of Community National Bank, will bring their combined 70-plus years of banking experience together to continue to enhance their respective markets and bring new products and technology to their customer bases.

“We feel fortunate to team up with Community National Bank’s associates and investors in relation to the pending transaction," Kelley said. "Community National Bank is highly regarded as a top quality bank among its banking peers.”

Freedom Bank opened in Cassville in 1999.

Newbold said the family style of doing business with Community National Bank will not change in the merger.

"We are committed to making this process as seamless as possible, but would like to thank our customers in advance for their patience and loyalty," the merger announcement said. In addition to the close proximity to one another, Freedom Bank and Community National Bank share similar core values and put personalized customer service and serving their communities at the top of their priority list.

“Both banks are owned locally by a consortium of investors from mainly the Barry and Lawrence county areas, and their investor groups will be joining efforts to continue to grow the bank and look for future opportunities in the southwest Missouri area."

The statement noted that over the last decade, mergers have been commonplace among community banks across the country. This tactic was considered an excellent way for banks to come together in order to handle increasing regulatory burden and control costs through economies of scale.

Both banks have reported healthy growth since inception and attribute that progress to their community involvement and the resulting loyal customer bases that refer friends and family.

"With personal relationships being of utmost importance, customers can rest assured that they will continue to see all of the friendly faces they have come to know and trust at each location," the statement said.

The merger process is expected to be finalized in second quarter of 2020.

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