WATERLOO - Liberty Bank is now open for business in the Cedar Valley at Fereday Plaza, 125 E. Tower Park Drive.

The 3,000-square-foot office suite, located near Acton Optical and A.J. Pickerman's restaurant, is a temporary location, Liberty Cedar Valley market president John Rathjen said. The bank plans to open four permanent locations in the Cedar Valley.

One permanent location in Waterloo and one in Cedar Falls will be announced soon, Rathjen said. He said the bank wants a location in downtown Waterloo and Cedar Falls, south Waterloo and another location in Cedar Falls.

Liberty Bank is a state-chartered institution formed by a group of business people led by convenience store chain operator William Krause. It has 24 locations in Iowa. Rathjen, former market president of Union Planters Bank, announced Liberty's entry into the Cedar Valley market in April. The bank presently employs 11 people here.

"My guess is as we move along and we get Cedar Falls developed and this site developed we'll probably have 18 to 20 employees" at its initial Waterloo and Cedar Falls locations, Rathjen said. Many of the bank's employees previously worked for Rathjen at Union Planters, now Regions Bank.

The first task is to get the bank's name out in the community, Rathjen said.

"My approach is to invite some people into the bank, smaller groups, tell them about what we're doing, really give kind of a personalized approach, tell our story, see what we can do to help our customers, help our friends in the community," Rathjen said.

Liberty is a full service bank, he said. It is the latest entry in a competitive proliferation of financial institutions in the Cedar Valley over the past 10 years.

Rathjen also announced several staff appointments at the bank. Craig Hoffman has been named vice president, retail manager; Teresa Samec, assistant vice president, branch manager, ultimately in the Cedar Falls office; Ryan Sheridan, vice president, commercial banking; Mike Trampel of Cedar Falls, previously with Liberty Bank in Cedar Rapids, will be a vice president of commercial banking, also focusing on ag lending; and Gary Buck will be merchant card services officer for the market. Teller staff also will be hired soon, as well as an additional investment staff member.

"The people were available, they're real high-quality people, a lot of passion for doing this the right way. Those are the kind of people we want working for us," Rathjen said.

The local bank can be contacted at (319) 233-8527. More information about the bank may be obtained at libertybankiowa.com

Contact Pat Kinney at (319) 291-1484 or Pat.Kinney@wcfcourier.com.

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