Bank of Celina company enters merger agreement

LAFAYETTE-The Boards of Directors of Citizens Bank of Lafayette, parent company of the Bank of Celina, and Liberty State Bank recently announced a definitive agreement to merge the two banks leaving Citizens Bank of Lafayette as the surviving bank and Citizens Bancorp Investment, Inc. as holding company of a banking system consisting of 15 branches covering Macon, DeKalb, Wilson, Sumner, Clay, Jackson, and Smith counties in Tennessee. Citizens Bank of Lafayette will continue to operate the current Liberty State Bank branches under the Liberty State Bank name.

“For over 100 years, both Citizens Bank of Lafayette and Liberty State Bank have consistently served our communities for their financial needs,” said Pete Williston, CEO of Citizens Bank of Lafayette. “While our holding company, Citizens Bancorp Investment, Inc., has owned a majority of Liberty’s stock since 1999, Citizens Bancorp Investment, Inc.’s acquisition of the remaining Liberty State Bank shares via the merger of the two banks will be beneficial to our customers, employees, and shareholders.”

In addition to the previously mentioned branches, account holders will have 13 ATM locations to utilize throughout Middle Tennessee, along with access to over 23,000 surcharge-free ATMs all over the country through the Money Pass network. After the merger, it is anticipated that doing business in a Liberty State Bank branch will be no different than doing business at a Citizens Bank of Lafayette branch, Smith County Bank branch, or Bank of Celina branch.

The combined bank will continue to be headquartered in Lafayette, Tennessee, the site of the current headquarters of Citizens Bank of Lafayette. Liberty State Bank will retain its presence in DeKalb and Wilson Counties, with five banking locations serving Alexandria, Lebanon, Liberty, and Smithville, Tennessee.

Citizens Bank of Lafayette President Joe Carter said, “Both banks have a similar history and philosophy that will greatly benefit our customers, shareholders, and employees.  Citizens’ focus for over 100 years has been to serve the needs of our communities, our friends, and our neighbors.  Liberty has had that same focus, and we intend to continue that tradition. Our directors, officers, and employees look forward to working with Liberty’s officers and employees to better serve the DeKalb and Wilson County communities.”

The merger is expected to be completed prior to the end of 2013. The definitive agreement providing for the merger of the banks has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of each of Citizens Bancorp Investment, Inc., Citizens Bank of Lafayette, and Liberty State Bank. The merger of the banks is subject to certain conditions, including the receipt of all required approvals from regulatory authorities and the approval of the definitive agreement by the shareholders of Liberty State Bank.