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Farmers State Bank

The town of Farmersburg, Clayton County, Iowa, was stepping into the 20th century. Farmersburg was what the name suggests—an active rural community made up mainly of English and Norwegian businessmen and German farmers.

Farmersburg was able to meet the needs of its citizens with one major exception—there was no bank. Those who spoke English wanted to start a bank and those speaking German also wanted a bank. It was a local fellow named Gott Zurcher who banded the two groups together to lay the groundwork for establishing the Farmersburg Savings Bank. On February 3, 1903, the first annual meeting of the future bank was held to establish board members and directors.

The written foundation was now in place, but the actual bank remained to be built. On March 12, 1903, the decision was made to build a bank at a cost of $2,852.00, contracted by W. F. Fuelling. This bank is still standing in Farmersburg over one hundred years later.

The first share of bank stock was sold to W. F. Fuelling for $100.00. Deborah O'Brien was the first woman stockholder, purchasing her shares on August 3, 1903.

On February 3, 1953, Farmersburg Savings Bank was entering its 50th year having survived and remaining open during The Great Depression. The total assets were $847,547.83.

In 1969, the F. A. Moser family sold their controlling stock to the LeRoy C. Darby family, who owned Union State Bank in Monona. The banks were considered “sister banks” because of their mutual owners, but each operated as a separate entity.

In January of 1978 the Farmersburg Savings Bank charter was moved to Elkader with the opening of Peoples State Bank, and the office remained open in Farmersburg.

In 2005, LeRoy C. Darby, Inc., a bank holding company, purchased Postville State Bank. Postville State Bank became a third “sister” and operated as an independent bank until March 31, 2006. On that date, Union State Bank and Postville State Bank merged with Peoples State Bank. The result of the merger was a single bank with four operating locations which was renamed “FreedomBank.”

On July 5, 2007, longtime board members and bank owners, LeRoy and Colleen Darby, sold their stock to the LeRoy C. Darby, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). This purchase gave control of 91.3% of the stock to the FreedomBank employee retirement plan.

On April 10, 2018, the ESOP achieved its goal of 100% control of FreedomBank. Complete employee ownership is unique in the banking industry and entrusts the Darby family's banking legacy to the past, present and future employees of FreedomBank.

On April 1, 2019, FreedomBank purchased Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank with locations in Waukon and Decorah. This purchase expanded the Northeast Iowa area that FreedomBank serves and provides additional product offerings to customers. In 2024, FreedomBank merged the Decorah retail location into the full-service Waukon location.