First Freedom Bank increases dividend by 20 percent

Office acquisitions in Putnam, Jackson counties helped fuel growth in 2016

COOKEVILLE – The board of directors for First Freedom Bank, which has offices in Putnam and Jackson counties, has approved a 30-cent per share dividend payable to shareholders.

This represents a 20 percent increase over the 2016 dividend and is “reflective of the excellent year the bank experienced in 2016,” said John Lancaster, board chairman and First Freedom Bancshares Inc. CEO.

The dividend is payable to shareholders of record on April 28, with a payment date of May 19.

Lancaster.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to reward our shareholders with this fifth consecutive dividend,” Lancaster said in a release. “The bank is growing and performing very well and it is deserving and appropriate that we share this success with our shareholders.”

First Freedom acquired three offices in Putnam and Jackson County in 2016; the locations, in Algood, Cookeville and Gainesboro, were originally operated as FSGBank. Those acquisitions, along with internal gains, fueled asset growth of 29.7 percent year-over-year. Additionally, 2017 first quarter net income is up 36 percent over the same period in 2016.

The company offers a dividend reinvestment plan for shareholders who want to reinvest their dividend. Due to SEC restrictions, the plan is available only to shareholders residing in the state of Tennessee. A complete copy of the plan is available at www.firstfreedombank.com under the shareholder information tab. This is a one-time enrollment for current, as well as any future dividends; however, participation may be cancelled at any time.

First Freedom Bank, headquartered in Wilson County, was established in 2006. First Freedom has approximately 70 employees and assets in excess of $420 million. The bank says it’s owned more than 1,100 shareholders.