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First Freedom Bank Increases Dividend By 25%
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."