Kurt Knutson – Freedom Bank, Overland Park, Kan.
Founder, Chairman and CEO
It’s Business Drive Time® in America, and we’re on a national business leadership tour. We are speaking with some of the finest leaders across America’s top growth industries. We are fielding a national market study, developing news stories and creating a video series about leading growth cities, industries, companies and people.
We recently sat down with Kurt Knutson of Freedom Bank in Overland Park in Overland Park, Kan., a growing suburb of in the Kansas City metro. Kurt is a respected CEO, a CEO advisor and business founder. Freedom Bank is one of the most well-managed business owner banks you will find. In addition to business banking insights, Kurt has provided valuable insights on what is required to foster growth of privately held companies.
The $180 million bank was founded by Kurt in 2005 after more than 20 years of prior commercial banking and finance experience. Freedom Bank is a new kind of bank, dealing exclusively with small to medium-sized privately held companies. Freedom Bank’s lending services focus on business term loans, working capital lines of credit and owner-occupied business real estate loans.
The bank’s mission, the portfolio of services and even the contemporary headquarters building were developed around the unique needs of business owners. Freedom Bank’s personalized level of services mirror what was once the norm in banking. This single-location, community bank with a visible, respected leader is something Kurt experienced firsthand as he grew up in the Midwestern town of Waterloo, Iowa, home of John Deere Tractor Works www.deere.com.
In addition to Freedom Bank, Kurt worked with his investor group to create a Founders Club and a Freedom Bank Foundation. Associated activities help to cultivate ongoing business friendships and professional connections for all involved. Freedom Bank hosts quarterly in-house events and an annual charity golf tournament. Kurt and his team select worthy local causes each year to receive the tournament proceeds.
Kurt also established a Freedom Bank banking and corporate finance training institute. The Freedom Bank Institute offers young professionals a taste of career opportunities in business banking. The institute provides student internships and training to promising young professionals on the subjects of banking, credit analysis and corporate finance.
Kurt is active in the business and banking community across the region. He is a member and past chairman of the Kansas Banking Board within the Office of the State Bank Commissioner. Kurt is an active member and chairman elect of the Kansas Bankers Association www.ksbankers.com, and is a member of KBA’s federal affairs committee. Kurt is on the board of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce www.kansaschamber.org, and a corporate board member of Clements Worldwide, a leading supplier of insurance solutions for expatriates and international organizations.
Kurt began his career as a regional sales manager at Russell Stover Candies before entering commercial banking. Prior to founding Freedom Bank, Kurt held senior and executive level banking positions serving customers locally, regionally and nationally. Prior banking experience includes Enterprise Bank, UMB Bank, Bank of America, Johnson County Bank and Bankers Trust. Kurt received his degree in marketing from the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa. www.uiowa.edu
For business loans in the Kansas City region, you can reach Kurt and Freedom Bank at www.IBankWithFreedom.com