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Heartland acquires local Freedom Banks

Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

STERLING – Three Freedom Banks will change their name to Riverside Community Bank after being acquired by Riverside’s parent company, Heartland Financial USA Inc.

The Freedom Banks in Sterling, Rock Falls and Seaton will officially become Riverside Community Banks this weekend. Seaton is a small community in Mercer County. The transition will begin Friday, and all three banks will be closed Saturday morning – at 1609 First Ave. in Rock Falls, 2403 N. Locust St. in Sterling, and 301 Maple St. in Seaton. Each bank will reopen as Riverside Community Bank on Monday.

Customers have been notified of the acquisition and name change, bank officials said.

“One of the biggest changes our community members will see in the short term will be our new Riverside Community Bank sign,” Freedom Bank President Pam Topper said. “... We are making every effort to complete a seamless conversion that will increase our banking services moving forward.”

The resources gained through Heartland Financial should provide additional services for customers, Topper said. The new ownership could also bring additional jobs, she said.

“For local business, agribusiness and retail customers, the change will mean expanded lending and treasury management services, along with enhanced deposit, fraud prevention, and new investment products,” Topper said.

Riverside Community Bank has assets of $500 million. It has seven banking sites in the Rockford region, and a large ATM network that extends into many northern Illinois Road Ranger convenience stores.

Riverside’s parent company, Heartland Financial, is based in Dubuque, Iowa. Heartland bought the banks from River Valley Bancorp Inc., a Davenport, Iowa, holding company.

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