News

Friday, 24 March 2017
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First Freedom Bank donated school supplies to Sycamore Elementary’s incoming Kindergarten students on March, 24, 2017.

Pictured left to right: Donna Sloan, Kindergarten Teacher, new incoming Kindergarten students, and Ladell Medley, VP and Cookeville and Algood Office Manager.

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Posted on 03/24/2017 2:36 PM by Sarah Poss
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
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On March 10, 2017, the Sycamore 4th graders that passed their reading requirements for the year participated in Bank Day at First Freedom Bank's Cookeville office.

Pictured above is Ladell Medley, Vice President and Cookeville Office Manager, giving a tour to the students. 

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Posted on 03/22/2017 8:15 AM by Sarah Poss
Monday, 20 March 2017
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John Hawkins and Phillip Vance have been promoted to Assistant Vice President at the Lebanon office, announced John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO. Hawkins will continue to serve as Portfolio Manager. Vance will continue to serve as a Relationship Manager.


As a Portfolio Manager for First Freedom, John Hawkins is responsible for managing a sizeable portfolio of loans in many different industries. He has ten years of banking experience and has been with First Freedom since February of 2014.


“John is very deserving of this promotion,” said Lancaster, “He governs a significant portfolio and manages it with a high level of accuracy and great detail. John’s many years of community banking experience gives him a great foundation for this significant role with First Freedom.”


Hawkins is a 2007 graduate of Tennessee Tech with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. He is a graduate of both the Southeastern School of Commercial Lending and of the Southeastern School of Advance Commercial Lending. Hawkins is also a 2016 Graduate of Leadership Wilson.


Hawkins volunteers in a number of community organizations, including Sherry’s Run, Relay for Life, and Jere’s Ride. He also serves as a board member for Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

Originally a resident of Gainesboro, Hawkins now resides in Lebanon with his wife, Kayla. They are expecting their first child in August. Hawkins is a member of College Hills Church of Christ.


Phillip Vance has been employed with First Freedom since July of 2014. As a Relationship Manager, he will continue to be responsible for managing existing customer loan and deposit portfolios, developing new customer relationships, underwriting loans for approval and originating new loans.


“We are excited about Phillip’s promotion and the role he plays in our bank and our community,” said Lancaster, “He is very intelligent, has the customer’s best interest at heart, and is creative in the way he approaches his customer’s needs. We are honored to have Phillip on the First Freedom team. “


Vance is a 2014 graduate of Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. He has extensive involvement in the community, including participating in Habitat for Humanity Builds and serving as the Treasurer for the Little Lights Pre-School at Maple Hill Church of Christ. He is currently the Fundraising Coordinator for the First Freedom Bank 2017 United Way Campaign and is serving on the 2017 Allocation Panel for Wilson County United Way. Additionally, Vance is a member of the Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club and is an upcoming board member. 


Vance resides in his hometown of Lebanon with his wife Emily and daughter, Hazel. He is a member of Maple Hill Church of Christ.


 

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Posted on 03/20/2017 2:34 PM by Sarah Poss
Friday, 10 March 2017
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Kaitlin Wattenbarger has been promoted to Personal Banker in the Providence office effective December 2016, announced Kenny Beavers, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking.

“Kaitlin has adapted extremely well to the First Freedom system, having progressed from Customer Service Representative to Customer Service Representative Manager, and now to Personal Banker. She is a valued member of the Providence Office, having worked at this location for the past 4 years. Kaitlin provides excellent customer service and always greets her customers with a warm smile and friendly hello. We are proud to have Kaitlin as a member of the First Freedom team,” said Beavers.

Kaitlin has been employed with First Freedom since 2013, when she started as a Customer Service Representative before being promoted to Customer Service Manager in 2015. Overall Kaitlin has more than nine years of sales and customer service experience.

Wattenbarger is originally from Hermitage, where she still resides with her husband Joshua. They are members of Crosspoint Church in Nashville. Active in the community, Wattenbarger has been the First Freedom Team Manager for Wilson County Relay for Life in each of the last four years.

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Posted on 03/10/2017 8:55 AM by Sarah Poss
Wednesday, 08 March 2017
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First Freedom Bank sponsored a table at the Lebanon Senior Citizens Valentine Banquet on Saturday, February 18th. The Valentine Banquet is the largest fundraiser of the year.

Pictured from left to right: John Scott, Kathy Scott, First Freedom Customer Service Manager Karen Elmore, Albert Cason, and Evelyn Cason.

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Posted on 03/08/2017 1:19 PM by Sarah Poss
Friday, 03 March 2017
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Sarah Poss has been promoted to Personal Banker/Marketing Specialist in the Providence office effective January 2017, announced Kenny Beavers, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking.

“Since joining the bank Sarah has already served our company in several capacities, most recently as CSR Manager and Training Coordinator in the Lebanon office. Sarah has a proven track record of handling additional duties in a prompt, efficient, and professional manner. She will now assume additional responsibilities for marketing and customer service. Sarah is an asset to our organization, and we are proud to have her on the First Freedom team,” said Beavers.

Sarah has been employed with First Freedom since 2015, when she started as a Customer Service Representative before being promoted to Customer Service Manager that same year. Overall, Sarah has seven years of customer service experience.

Poss received a B.S. in Anthropology, with a minor in Spanish and Latin-American studies, from Middle Tennessee State University in 2014. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sarah has been a resident of Wilson County for fourteen years.  She currently lives in Watertown with her husband Justin. 

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Posted on 03/03/2017 4:41 PM by Sarah Poss
Friday, 17 February 2017
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First Freedom Bank has promoted Nicole Frank to Mortgage Specialist, announced J.B. Owens, Senior Vice President and Director of Commercial Banking. In her new position she is responsible for both new mortgage processing and originating, and will be working with realtors and individuals on their home loan needs.


“Nicole has been a valuable addition to our bank and we are excited about her new opportunity with our mortgage team. She puts an emphasis on customer satisfaction and does so while working extremely well with her coworkers. We look forward to seeing her grow even more in her new position and are proud to have Nicole on our team,” said Owens.


Nicole has been with First Freedom since September of 2015. She has over 7 years of total banking experience with Wells Fargo and Quad City Bank & Trust in her home town of Andalusia, Illinois. She then worked with The Bank of Nashville after relocating to Hermitage in 2012 with her husband, Derek.

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Posted on 02/17/2017 10:04 AM by Sarah Poss
Monday, 19 December 2016
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Keleigh Carnes has joined First Freedom Bank as Customer Service Representative at the bank's Mount Juliet office, announced Kenny Beavers, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking. 

"Keleigh is a great addition to our Mount Juliet office. She possesses excellent customer service skills and always greets the customers with a smile. We are excited to have Keleigh as a member of our First Freedom team," said Beavers.

Keleigh was born in Hendersonville and moved to Springhill, Florida, when she was a small child. She returned to Middle Tennessee when she was 17, and now resides in Mount Juliet. Keleigh is a graduate of Wilson Central and a member of United Church in Gallatin. She also volunteers her time at a nursing home in Mount Juliet. 

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Posted on 12/19/2016 11:40 AM by Giulia Ware
Friday, 16 December 2016
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First Freedom Bank donated to the Gainesboro 4-H Club for their Public Speaking Contest.

Pictured are First Freedom's Gregory Scott, Customer Service Manager for the Gainesboro office and Cynthia Zeits, UT Extension Agent that helps students compete in the 4-H contest.

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Posted on 12/16/2016 3:29 PM by Giulia Ware
Friday, 25 November 2016
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On September 22nd Teola Ragland, Personal Banker for First Freedom's Gainesboro office, volunteered for a community baby shower hosted by the UT Extension office.

This event is put together twice a year by the UT Extension office. The UT Extension office serves the citizens of Jackson County with educational programs in the areas of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences, Community Resource Development, and 4-H Youth Development. They  are an outreach branch of the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture.  

This community baby shower  is open to the public and is an opportunity to talk to parents about car seat safety, crib safety and safe sleeping habits. First Freedom donated one of the door prize that was given to the families in need.

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Posted on 11/25/2016 3:49 PM by Giulia Ware
Monday, 21 November 2016
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On October 27th  Ladell Medley, VP and Cookeville/Algood office Manager for First Freedom Bank was a speaker at White Plains Academy Vocational Day.

Ladell spoke to about 75 students of different grades.

Main topics were banking, education requirements to get a job in the banking world, jobs and education opportunities, benefits and motivational speech to continue striving in school.

Ladell did a great job keeping the students focused and shared some of his personal work experiences, giving meaningful advice.

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Posted on 11/21/2016 10:39 AM by Giulia Ware
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
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In honor of ten years of service in the Wilson County community, First Freedom Bank is spotlighting ten worthy community service organizations, and donating in support of their efforts. In November, First Freedom donated $1,000 in support of Big Brothers of Mt. Juliet. Big Brothers assists needy families in West Wilson County with food and basic necessities; they will have a toy store for Christmastime for families in need of gifts. 

Pictured at the check presentation are (left to right) John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of First Freedom Bank; C.J. George and Linda George, volunteers with Big Brothers; Matt Pillow, AVP and First Freedom Providence Office Manager; Debbie Carrey, Board Member for Big Brothers; and John Bradshaw, President and COO of First Freedom Bank.

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Posted on 11/15/2016 9:09 AM by Giulia Ware
Friday, 14 October 2016
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In honor of ten years of service in the Wilson County community, First Freedom Bank is spotlighting ten worthy community service organizations, and donating in support of their efforts. In October, First Freedom donated $1,000 in support of Wilson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA provides trained volunteers who advocate in court for the stability and healthy development of abused and neglected children. CASA volunteers remain with their assigned case until the child can be returned home, is adopted, or other permanent arrangements are made. 

Pictured at the check presentation are (left to right) John Bradshaw, President and COO of First Freedom Bank; Cathey Sweeney, Executive Director of Wilson County CASA; Shelia Ferrell, Vice President and Relationship Manager at First Freedom Bank and President-Elect of Wilson County CASA; and John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of First Freedom Bank.

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Posted on 10/14/2016 1:05 PM by Giulia Ware
Wednesday, 07 September 2016
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In honor of ten years of service in the Wilson County community, First Freedom Bank is spotlighting ten worthy community service organizations, and donating in support of their efforts. In September, First Freedom donated $1,000 in support of the Mt. Juliet Help Center. The Help Center provides emergency food and utility assistance to citizens in Mt. Juliet and west Wilson County. 

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Posted on 09/07/2016 1:36 PM by Giulia Ware
Tuesday, 02 August 2016
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In honor of ten years of service in the Wilson County community, First Freedom Bank is spotlighting ten worthy community service organizations, and donating in support of their efforts.  In August, First Freedom donated $1,000 in support of Wilson Books from Birth. Wilson Books from Birth partners with the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation to make the Dolly Parton Imagination Library available to every child under age 5 in Wilson County. Children receive a new, age-appropriate book each month free of charge.

Pictured at the check presentation are (left to right) John Bradshaw, President and COO of First Freedom Bank; Peggy Simpson, Director of Wilson Books from Birth; Theresa Wiggington, volunteer for Wilson Books from Birth; and John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of First Freedom Bank.

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Posted on 08/02/2016 12:16 PM by Giulia Ware
Friday, 08 July 2016
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In honor of ten years of service in the Wilson County community, First Freedom Bank is spotlighting ten worthy community service organizations, and donating in support of their efforts.  In July, First Freedom donated $1,000 in support of the Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center.  The Center offers more than 80 programs in arts & crafts, drama and music, recreation, wellness, special events and community service.  It is currently raising funds for a new, one-level building that will be more than double the size of the current Center. 

Pictured at the check presentation are (left to right) John Bradshaw, President and COO of First Freedom Bank; Tanya Graham, Executive Director of Mt. Juliet Senior Activity Center; Steven Ford, board member of the Center; Jennifer McGlothin, chair of the Center; Linda McClanahan, Capital Campaign Director of the Center; April Jennette, manager of the Mt. Juliet office of First Freedom Bank; John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of First Freedom Bank; and Matt Pillow, manager of the Providence office of First Freedom Bank.

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Posted on 07/08/2016 8:29 AM by Giulia Ware
Wednesday, 08 June 2016
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In honor of ten years of service in the Wilson County community, First Freedom Bank is spotlighting ten worthy community service organizations, and donating in support of their efforts.  In June, First Freedom donated $1,000 in support of the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center.  The Center offers a wide variety of physical activities, educational opportunities, support groups, organized trips, and lunches to attendees as well as those who are homebound and unable to cook. The Center is currently raising funds to expand its facility.

Pictured at the check presentation are (left to right) John Bradshaw, President and COO of First Freedom Bank; Patti Watts, Director of the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center; Maliea Oakley, Senior Vice President and Director of Human Resources at First Freedom Bank; and John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of First Freedom Bank.

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Posted on 06/08/2016 9:00 AM by Giulia Ware
Monday, 23 May 2016
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In honor of ten years of service in the Wilson County community, First Freedom Bank is spotlighting ten worthy community service organizations, and donating in support of their efforts.  In May, First Freedom donated $1,000 in support of the Wilson County Veterans Plaza. Located next to the Wilson County Courthouse, the Veterans Plaza is a tribute to those who served the United States both past and present. Phase One of the Veteran's Park was completed in 2014; the park includes an eternal flame, POW-MIA monument, a star-shaped fountain, monuments for all branches of the military and several flagpoles. Phases two and three will include offices and a museum. 

Pictured at the check presentation are (left to right) John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO of First Freedom, Bernie Ash from the Veteran's Services Office and John Bradshaw, President and COO of First Freedom Bank.

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Posted on 05/23/2016 8:22 AM by Giulia Ware
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
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J. B. Owens, CPA, Senior Vice President and Director of Commercial Banking of First Freedom Bank, was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of both the Southeastern School of Commercial Lending and the Southeastern School of Advanced Commercial Lending, announced John Lancaster, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Freedom Bank.

The Southeastern School Boards serve as an extension of the Tennessee Bankers Association's board of directors and specifically oversees the administration of these two commercial lending schools on behalf of the Tennessee Bankers Association.

The Southeastern Schools provide a solid foundation on which to build a banking career. Graduates develop the skills that will bring them success in upper-level management positions and forge the networks that will serve them throughout their career.

"J. B. Owens is an outstanding choice as a board member for these important banking schools," stated First Freedom Chairman and CEO John Lancaster.  "His practical experience as a commercial lender and a senior level bank manager, coupled with his professional credentials, allow him to give a unique insight into the educational needs of developing bankers."

The Southeastern School of Commercial Lending is an intensive, one-week school that concentrates on all aspects of commercial lending. Students receive over 50 hours of classroom instruction, discussion, and case study.

The Southeastern School of Advanced Commercial Lending is an intensive three-day school focusing on advanced cash flow and loan structure, commercial real estate lending, and new approaches to predicting portfolio credit performance and managing portfolio credit risk.  This school is ideal for commercial lenders, relationship managers, portfolio managers, senior credit managers, and others who currently are responsible for or are interested in profitably growing the bank's loan portfolio and better managing portfolio credit risk.

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Posted on 04/27/2016 10:05 AM by Giulia Ware
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
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John Lancaster, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of First Freedom Bancshares, Inc., announced that the Board of Directors has approved a 25 cent per share dividend payable to shareholders of record on April 15, with a payment date of April 29, 2016.

 "We are pleased to announce our fourth consecutive dividend," stated Lancaster. "2013 was the first year our bank was old enough to pay a dividend. This year's dividend reflects a 25% increase over last year and a 150% increase over the original 2013 dividend," he concluded. 

First Freedom's 2015 earnings per share increased 14.7% year-over-year fueled by strong margins, operating efficiency and solid loan growth.  First quarter of 2016 earnings are not yet available, but loan growth has continued to be strong as evidenced by $15 million growth in the loan portfolio. First Freedom is preparing for a mid-May purchase of three offices in Putnam and Jackson counties that are expected to add in excess of $100 million to the bank's balance sheet. 

"We continue to be very pleased with our financial performance and look forward to integrating these three offices into the First Freedom family," stated Lancaster.  "We are pleased to be able to reward our shareholders with this dividend and remain optimistic about the future of First Freedom."

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Posted on 04/12/2016 9:52 AM by Giulia Ware
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