Central Bank of the Midwest, BankLiberty merger to be completed Aug. 1

The BankLiberty location off the historic Liberty Square will remain the same until late fall when the name of the bank becomes Central Bank of the Midwest.

LIBERTY — Central Bank of Missouri has entered into a merger agreement to acquire BankLiberty. The final merger should be completed by Aug. 1.

Under the terms of the merger, BankLiberty will also be merged into Central Bancompany’s affiliate bank, Central Bank of the Midwest, headquartered in Lee’s Summit, subject to the receipt of all required state and federal regulatory approvals, the approval of BankLiberty’s shareholders and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Under the terms of the agreement, BankLiberty common shareholders will receive $42 in cash for each share of BankLiberty common stock they own. BankLiberty option holders will also receive cash equal to the difference between $42 per share and the exercise price of their in-the-money options.

“We are excited to join Central Bank of the Midwest and continue our longstanding commitment to community, with greater resources and financial services for our existing customers and employees as part of the Central Bank family in the Northland,” Brent Giles, president and chief executive officer of BankLiberty, stated in a release.

Giles will be retained as the Northland community bank president, maintaining his Northland ties.

“The cultures between the two banks are similar, as are the banks’ values,” he said. “I will also get a chance to be with customers more rather than the administrative responsibilities.”

All the shareholders for BankLiberty were notified in May.

“This will be a positive event for our customers and the communities we serve,” Giles said. “Our Northland customers will now have 33 additional banking locations. They will have access to some products and services that we don’t offer.”

After the merger, customers will not see any major changes.

“Our customers will deal with the same people at the branches and they will not see many changes for a few months,” Giles said. “Customers will be notified about changes via mail and email. The transition should be seamless.”

Bill Ferguson, president and CEO of Central Bank of the Midwest, said the merger allows his banking institution to expand its footprint north of the river.

“We are excited to join BankLiberty in making this partnership a reality in the Northland. Their commitment to financial strength and local decision-making is a perfect fit for our Central Bank family,” he said via release.

Ferguson said he and Giles have been coordinating efforts and making sure all the regulatory approvals have been made.

“This will still be their hometown bank,” Ferguson said. “In the past 20 years, we have made eight acquisitions of small hometown banks, and those smaller hometown community banks continue in the communities they serve.”

Ferguson praised BankLiberty for being community-minded.

“We just aim to enhance that,” he said. “BankLiberty will have more services and technologies from a larger bank. We also have an investment arm, which includes a trust company and estate planning.”

Ferguson said he doesn’t expect any name changes or any other alterations until November.

“From August to November, we will really introduce Central Bank to the Northland,” he said. “We want the Northland to see what sort of organization we are with just a few more bells and whistles than BankLiberty. The name change doesn’t mean community involvement declines.”

At the closing of the transaction, it is anticipated that Central Bank of the Midwest will have combined assets totaling $2.3 billion, with $1.7 billion in loans and $1.9 billion in deposits. The addition of 13 branches in the Northland and Independence areas will bring the total number of Central Bank of the Midwest branches to 46, reaching 25 communities across greater Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas.

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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