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Liberty and Middlefield banks to merge, branches in Twinsburg, Solon, Beachwood expected to stay ope

by Gina Mace | Reporter Published: August 3, 2016 12:00 AM
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Officials with Middlefield Banc Corp. say Middlefield Bank, based in Middlefield, and Liberty Bank, based in Beachwood, will merge following a July 28 merger agreement.

Bank officials from both sides say the merger means "business as usual" at the Twinsburg Liberty Bank location at 2351 Edison Boulevard. No branches from either side are expected to close.

"We are excited to announce this merger with Liberty, as both banks share common community banking values, compelling financial models and outstanding management teams," said Thomas G. Caldwell, president and CEO of Middlefield. "We are pleased to welcome Liberty's customers to the Middlefield Banking Company family."

Middlefield will gain Liberty's assets, increasing its own asset base about 28 percent to $970 million and raising it from the 33rd to 29th largest bank in Ohio based on June 2015 market share data.

Liberty Bank is the 90th largest bank in the state.

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Andrew Berger, investor and media contact for Middlefield Banc Corp., said Middlefield will take over Liberty's four locations in Northeast Ohio, including the Twinsburg branch.

As part of the agreement, Liberty Bank Board of Director members William A. Valerian and Thomas W. Bevan will join the Middlefield Bank board.

"Middlefield understands the value we place on our customers," Valerian said. "Their leadership team and banking infrastructure create the perfect merger partner for Liberty. This merger will bring together two financially strong community banks with a long history of serving customers in Ohio."

Berger said he doesn't expect branches from either bank to close as a result of the merger. None of the Liberty or Middlefield branches are close enough to overlap, he said.

He added he expects the merger to close by the end of 2016.

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It could be as long as 2018 before customers see the Liberty Bank signs change to Middlefield.

"From a customer perspective, it's business as usual," Berger said. "Middlefield and Liberty compliment each other from a lending and customer service standpoint."

The merger isn't likely to affect customers of either bank, except for an eventual name change and expanded product offerings, Berger said.

"The five largest banking institutions in Cleveland control 85 percent of deposits," he said. "Middlefield believes by creating a larger community bank, it can reach more customers who want community bank values, like putting the customer first and responding to customers quickly."

Email: gmace@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9424

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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