John Lancaster named Board Chairman, remains CEO
Ken Howell, board chairman of First Freedom Bank, has announced his retirement from that position. Howell, who was one of the founders of First Freedom Bank ten years ago, has spent more than forty years in banking. John Lancaster, President and CEO, assumes the role of Chairman, effective January 20, 2016.
"Ken's impact on Wilson County cannot be under-stated," said Lancaster. "He has been a leader in business, a major contributor to the community, and a visionary for First Freedom Bank. I am honored to step into the position of Chairman. We look forward to honoring Ken at a community open house/reception later this spring. "
Howell will continue to serve on the board of directors of First Freedom Bank as Chairman Emeritus. He also serves on the board of Shenandoah Mills, Inc. Howell is Lifetime Member #23 of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce where he served as Board Chairman in 1995. He was instrumental in the organization of the Chamber's Business and Education Coalition which has contributed more than $190,000 in teacher grants throughout Wilson County. He continues to be involved in these efforts.
Lancaster, a Lebanon native, was instrumental in organizing a group of investors to form First Freedom Bank. He served as President, CEO and Director 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.
"John Lancaster's background in banking and his leadership qualities make him the perfect choice for Chairman of First Freedom Bank. He is one of the most disciplined and forward thinking individuals that I have ever been associated with," said Howell. "The shareholders of First Freedom Bank and the Wilson County community all benefit from his skills as a banker and a community leader. I look forward to working with John and the entire First Freedom Bank family in the future as a member of the board of directors."
Lancaster is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a B.S. in Business Administration, with Honors. He earned his MBA at Trevecca Nazarene University. Additionally, he 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. He is a member of the 2016 class of Leadership Middle Tennessee.