About First Freedom Bank

Our People | Leadership Team

John Lancaster, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Director  

John Lancaster, Chairman A banker who knows you is a banker who understands your needs, your dreams, your grand plans. That's what it means to be a community bank, a bank that's fully invested in the growth and prosperity of the community.

More...

John R. Lancaster is a native of Lebanon, Tennessee, and the President and Chief Executive Officer of First Freedom Bank, a community bank headquartered in Wilson County.

Lancaster was instrumental in organizing a group of investors to form First Freedom and has served as President, CEO and Director of First Freedom since the bank's inception in 2006. Prior to the organization of First Freedom, he served as Wilson County Chairman with SunTrust Bank / National Bank of Commerce.

Lancaster graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon. He continued his education at The University of Tennessee - Knoxville where he received his B.S. in Business Administration, with honors. He obtained his MBA from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. Additionally, Lancaster is an alumnus of The Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University, the Tennessee Commercial Lending School and the Southeastern School of Advanced Commercial Lending, both at Vanderbilt University.

Active in community affairs, Lancaster has served as Board Chairman and Campaign Chairman for United Way of Wilson County and a board member of the United Ways of Middle Tennessee. He has served as chairman of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Greater Lebanon Regional Planning Commission, President of Main Street Lebanon, Inc., President of the Wilson County Adult Reading Council, and as an instructor for Junior Achievement through Lebanon High School for a number of years.

A graduate of Leadership Wilson, Lancaster has also served on the board of the Wilson County Heart Association, the Joint Economic and Community Development Board of Wilson County and the Board of the Independent Bankers Division of the Tennessee Bankers Association. He currently serves on the Board of Financial Products & Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tennessee Bankers Association.

Lancaster has been named a Power Leader in Banking by the Nashville Business Journal. He is also a recipient of the Wilson County Impact Award, which honors citizens who are leading the charge for improvements and economic development in Wilson County.

He and his wife, Penny, have been married for 25 years and have two adult sons. They are members of the First United Methodist Church in Lebanon.

[ Hide ]


John Bradshaw, President, Chief Operating Officer, Director  

Loan-to-value ratios. Annual percentage rates. FDIC regulations. It's a good thing John Bradshaw has a handle on all the technicalities of the banking business. But banking, in the end, isn't about numbers. It's about relationships-people helping people.

You look to your banker when you are taking some of the biggest steps of your life: when you're buying a house, starting a business, sending the kids to college, thinking about retirement. Aren't you glad there are bankers like John Bradshaw, who understand that banking is more about relationships, not just rates and ratios? John Bradshaw is helping make First Freedom a different kind of bank.

More...

John H. Bradshaw has over twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of banking. He was previously employed as Senior Vice-President of First Tennessee Bank, N.A. in Lebanon, Tennessee and headed the commercial lending and business development in Wilson County. A lifelong resident of Lebanon, he graduated from Castle Heights Military Academy and received his Bachelor of Science degree in finance at the University of Tennessee. Additionally, he earned his Masters of Business Administration from Cumberland University. He is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Banking and the Tennessee Commercial School of Banking at Vanderbilt University. Mr. Bradshaw has worked with Middle Tennessee Junior Achievement as an adult leader/teacher with students at Lebanon High School. He graduated from the inaugural class of Leadership Wilson in 1994. He is currently the Chairman of the Board for the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Health and Education Board of Wilson County. Mr. Bradshaw served on the board of trust for Summit Hospital and is a member of the Lebanon Rotary Club. He is a past board member of the American Heart Association, the Empower Me Day Camp, and Leadership Wilson Alumni Board. He was also actively involved with the Boy Scouts of America and has coached baseball in Lebanon. Mr. Bradshaw and his wife Karen have been married for over twenty-five years and have three children. They are active members of the First United Methodist Church in Lebanon.

[ Hide ]


Ken Howell, Chairman Emeritus, Director  

After 40 years in banking and 10 years leading First Freedom Bank as Chairman, Ken Howell announced his retirement this year. Ken will continue to serve on the board of directors of First Freedom Bank as Chairman Emeritus. Ken has been a leader in business and a major contributor to the community. His vision and leadership has been instrumental in the bank and community growth. A community bank, after all, is vital to community growth. That's why vision is so important in the community banking business. Our vision makes First Freedom a different kind of bank.

More...

Kenneth C. Howell graduated from Columbia Central High School in Columbia, Tennessee and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Middle Tennessee State University in 1972. He attended Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University, the National Commercial Lending School at the University of Oklahoma, and the National Consumer Credit School at the University of Oklahoma. He was employed by Commerce Union Bank from 1972-1984 in various lending and management positions in the bank's Nashville, Springfield and Lebanon locations, being promoted to Vice-President. He worked for the Humana Hospital Corporation in public relations and physician recruitment and later in private business as a series 7 licensed broker in the securities industry from 1984-1987. He joined Peoples Bank of Lebanon (later Third National Bank) in 1987 as Executive Vice President and as a member of the board of directors.

Mr. Howell was the Wilson County Regional President for First American National Bank from 1988-1992, a position that included being project manager for the new office in Lebanon. He joined First Tennessee National Bank in 1992 as executive vice president and commercial sales manager and later as regional president for Wilson County (1997-2002), a position that included the project management for the replacement of an old office in Lebanon with a new facility for the bank. He is the past president and member of the board of directors of Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce.

In 1995 he founded the Wilson County Business and Education Coalition, Inc., a non-profit teacher grant program of the Chamber of Commerce. He was elected a lifetime member #23 of the Lebanon/Wilson County Chamber of Commerce in 1998 and was one of the founding members of the Business Resource Center for the Chamber. Mr. Howell is a past charter member of the Rotary Club in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee and a past member of the board of directors of the Middle Tennessee Heart Association. He is past president and member of the board of directors of the Wilson County United Way of Middle Tennessee.He is past president and member of the board of directors of Prospect, Inc.; a member of the Wilson County Fair Board; and an honorary member of Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society at Cumberland University. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Lebanon.

Mr. Howell and his wife, Mallory, have been married 42 years and have three sons.

[ Hide ]


Mike Wiggington, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer  

Numbers are a significant and essential component of a financial institution “ loan levels, deposit balances, interest rates, investment yields, and profitability ratios “ just to name a few . As the bank's Chief Financial Officer, Mike Wiggington deals with a large volume of data every day but he is keenly aware that these numbers are a mere reflection of the activity and level of service that First Freedom Bank provides to its customers. In order to meet the needs of its customers and provide a sufficient return to shareholders, the bank must employ its assets efficiently and effectively. 

More...

Mr. Wiggington accounts for every dollar that comes into and goes out of First Freedom Bank. His daily decisions are guided by one very important fact “ we are stewards of the funds entrusted to us by our customers and shareholders. There are plenty of banks that want your business. That's why Mike Wiggington is committed to making sure First Freedom Bank is the most customer-driven, community-focused bank in Wilson County. That kind of leadership makes First Freedom a different kind of bank. 

Mr. Wiggington has served as the bank's Chief Financial Officer since its inception in 2006. He previously served as the Commercial Loan Manager and Senior Lending Officer of SunTrust Bank's Wilson County region.

Before his transition to the banking industry, Wiggington was Chief Financial Officer for two trucking companies and provided financial consulting services for various businesses in Middle Tennessee.

Wiggington earned his MBA, with honors, from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. He received a BS degree, cum laude, in Mathematics from Ball State University and has taken additional professional courses through the American Bankers Association and Robert Morris Associates. 

A thirty year resident of Wilson County, Wiggington is a graduate of Leadership Wilson and has been a member of the Lebanon Planning Commission, the Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club, Wilson County CASA, Junior Achievement Board of Directors, and the Sumner Academy Board of Trustees. He and his wife, Theresa, have been marries 34 years and reside in Lebanon. They have two grown children.   

[ Hide ]

 

J. B. Owens, CPA, Executive Vice President, Director of Commercial Banking  

J. B. has a history of getting involved. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Lebanon / Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, he is on the Board of Directors of the Southeastern School of Commercial Lending and Advanced Commercial Lending, he is on the Accounting Advisory Board for the Tennessee Tech University College of Business, he is a past Board Chairman of United Way of Wilson County, a past President of the Kiwanis Club of Lebanon, a past Lebanon Little League Board Member / Commissioner, and he is a past Board Treasurer for the Lebanon / Wilson County Chamber of Commerce. Why is he so involved? Because he believes that a good banker should be committed to the community that he serves, and at First Freedom Bank the community is so important. If you want a great community bank, you need bankers “like J.B.” who think the community matters. 

More...

J. B. Owens, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), has spent his entire professional career in the financial services industry. He came to First Freedom Bank from Kraft CPAs, where he spent several years in the Bank Audit and Assurance Services Group. While at Kraft, J. B. worked with numerous public and nonpublic banks ranging from $75 million in assets to well over $2 billion in assets. J. B. is a two-time graduate from Tennessee Technological University having obtained both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (majoring in Accounting) and also a graduate degree in the form of a Master of Business Administration (MBA). J. B. maintains an active CPA license and is a Member of the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). In 2012, J.B. was designated by the AICPA to be a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and continues to maintain the CGMA designation today.

J. B. is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania, the American Bankers Association's most prestigious national banking school. Additionally, J. B. is both a graduate of the Southeastern School of Consumer Credit at Vanderbilt University and the Southeastern School of Commercial Lending at Vanderbilt University.

Since coming on board with First Freedom Bank in 2006, J. B. has held various positions within the bank's lending and commercial banking teams and has served as First Freedom Bank's Sr. Lender & Director of Commercial Banking since 2009. In his role he oversees new loan and mortgage production and all business development activities for the bank as a whole.

J. B. and his wife, Bethany, call Wilson County their home. They both work and reside in Lebanon and attend Mt. Juliet Church of Christ.

[ Hide ]

Maliea Oakley, Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources and Facilities Manager  

Maliea Oakley is the kind of banker you can trust. You cans see it in her face. But it's more than that. In thirty-seven years in the business “ from bank teller to bank Sr. Vice President “ Maliea has built a track record of excellence, honesty, and customer-focus that bank customers have come to rely on. One transaction at a time, she has built a lot of trust. People like Maliea Oakley make us a different kind of bank.

More...

Maliea Oakley is a lifelong resident of Wilson County. Educated in Wilson County schools, Oakley went on to obtain AIB diplomas in general banking, consumer credit and commercial lending from Volunteer State Community College. She graduated from the Southeastern School of Consumer Credit and the Southeastern School of Banking. Oakley is also a graduate of the prestigious Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. Prior to joining First Freedom Bank, she held executive leadership positions as vice president and main office manager at Wilson Bank & Trust, where, among many other duties, she handled a $29 million loan portfolio. Oakley also served as a relationship banker and commercial officer at Peoples Bank, which later became Third National, handling an extensive loan portfolio for her clients. Oakley and her husband have two children. She is currently the co-chair for Relay for Life in Wilson County, and is on the committee that organized Wilson County-the Place to Be. In the recent past, Oakley has been a trustee for the Southeastern School of Consumer Credit, held positions of Immanuel Baptist Church's budget and finance committee and properties committee, treasurer of Lebanon High School Band Boosters, and member of Junior Achievement and Leadership Wilson.

[ Hide ]


Kenny Beavers, Senior Vice President, Director of Retail Banking  

First Freedom customers can trust Kenny Beavers. He has 35 years of experience in community banking, and truly understands the difference that each individual makes in a community. As Director of Retail Banking, Kenny is charged with creating and maintaining a level of service you just can't find in another bank. He knows how important it is for a community to keep growing and recognize its true potential.

More...

Before joining First Freedom Bank, Kenny was with Capital Bank, where he worked as Consumer Market Manager for Middle Tennessee. In this position, he maintained responsibility for 28 full service banking branches, with approximately 150 employees across eight counties in Middle Tennessee. While, through a series of sales, Beavers has been part of Capital Bank, Green Bank, National Bank of Commerce, and Boatmen's Bank of Tennessee, he has remained in the same office in Lawrenceburg.

Kenny is a graduate of the Mid-South School of Banking and of the Tennessee School of Banking. A native of Lawrenceburg, he has been involved in the community as Vice Chairman of the Lawrenceburg Industrial Development Board and Treasurer of the Lawrence County Public Transportation Board. He also served as Past President of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Board Member for Lawrenceburg Public Housing, and is a graduate of Leadership Lawrence County. He and his family reside in Mt. Juliet.

[ Hide ]