Liberty Bank Welcomes Matthew Waters as Community President

Nov. 25, 2018– Liberty Bank, A United Community Bank, welcomes Matthew Waters as its new Community President. Waters joins Liberty Bank with more than 15 years of experience in the financial industry.


Matt is responsible for directing operations and strategy for Liberty Bank throughout Madison County. He succeeds Alan Schmale, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer with United Community Bank, as interim Community President after the retirement of Dale Blachford last November.

After a thorough search for the right individual to lead Liberty Bank, Matt’s dedication to the community, his customers, and his family combined with his proven leadership skills and passion for building relationships made it clear to us he is the perfect fit,” states Todd Wise, President and CEO of United Community Bank. “We appreciate Alan’s dedicated service this past year and the time it afforded us to find the right match in Matt for Liberty Bank and its communities."

"Madison County and Liberty Bank are strong. The opportunities in our communities are abundant and it’s only getting better to live and work right here at home,” states Waters. “With the help of a great team, the valued trust of our customers, and the strength of United Community Bank, I look forward to continuing to build upon the success of Liberty Bank.

Born and raised in Alton and an alumnus of Marquette Catholic High School, Matthew remains actively involved in the community, currently serving on the school’s board of directors as well as the Alton Boys and Girls Club, and Riverbend CEO. He is a graduate of Quincy University where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Marketing and was a 2-time letter winner in both football and baseball.  He and his wife, Lindsay, currently reside in Bethalto with their four children: Madelyn (11), William (9), Sophia (8), and Charlie (1). They spend most of their free time watching their children play sports including soccer, hockey, basketball, and baseball.

Quincy, Illinois, July 5, 2019 - Mercantile Bank is pleased to announce its Banking on YOUth Grant recipients for the 2019-20 school year.  Twelve grants were awarded to 10 teachers from seven schools in Quincy, IL totaling $3,563.81.  Teachers receiving this year’s grants were presented with their grant funds at their schools in their classrooms and during special assemblies in May.

2019-20BankingOnYouthGrantWinner.jpgSince 2000, Mercantile has awarded more than 300 individual classroom grants totaling nearly $75,000. These grant funds have been used to provide hands-on learning programs, field trips, materials, and equipment that continue to benefit thousands of students each year.

“It’s exciting to be able to help our communities’ teachers by providing needed materials and unique learning opportunities that, in many cases, they would not otherwise be able to offer,” states Nicole Costigan, Vice President, Retail with Mercantile Bank and chairwoman of the Banking on YOUth Grant Committee. “All of the teachers provide compelling cases for their projects making it very difficult to choose which grant applications will receive funding.”

2019-20 Banking on YOUth Grant Recipients:

Arts & Humanities 


Katie O'Neal

St. Dominic Elementary School


Books & Materials 


Lori Biswell

Thomas S. Baldwin Elementary School

Renita Mohr

St. James Lutheran School

Rochelle Neuman

St. Francis Solanus School

Field Trips & Transportation  
Gabrielle Esselman Quincy Junior High School

Health & Fitness


Jenni Moran

Quincy Senior High School


Science & Technology


Marsha Collins

St. Francis Solanus School

Lisa Machold

Thomas S. Baldwin Elementary School

Emily Mellon

St. Peter School


Special Initiatives


Whitney Stanford

St. Peter School

About the Mercantile Bank Banking on YOUth Grant Program

Created in 2000, the Banking on YOUth Grant program awards funds directly to teachers to help them provide special classroom projects, materials, and programs that expand and enhance the learning experience of students Pre-K - 12 in the Quincy and Palmyra public and parochial school systems.  Consideration is given to unique and creative projects that encourage student participation and broaden classroom and community involvement, as well as help, develop alternative and effective methods of learning life skills. 

Sept. 18, 2018 – Liberty Bank today announced the upcoming retirement of Dale Blachford. Dale has served as the Bank’s president since 2004 and will be retiring at the end of November after more than 42 years in community banking. He will remain an active member of the Bank’s Board of Directors.


"I have thoroughly enjoyed my 42 plus years as a community banker," shares Blachford. "The 14 years I have spent at Liberty Bank have been some of the most rewarding of my career. I have been blessed to work with and for some great people over the years, and I cherish working with my customers, our employees, and serving in our community.” 

An active member in the community and in the banking industry, Dale is the Treasurer of the Illinois Bankers Association, serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the IBA’s Ag Committee. He is also Chairman of the Gordon Moore Park Restoration Committee and serves on the Board of Growth Association.

“I know we will stay in the area, and I will always continue to be actively involved in the community,” states Blachford. “Best of all, I am excited to still be involved with the Bank by serving on the Board. Liberty Bank has a bright future and I appreciate the opportunity to continue to be a part of it - just in a new role that will allow me to spend more time with my wife Jan, our 6 children, and 8 grandchildren!”

"Dale has provided outstanding leadership for Liberty Bank, for our industry, and for our communities," notes P.J. Jun, a founding member of Liberty Bank’s Board of Directors and former owner of Jun Construction. "He had the wealth of experience we needed to help grow Liberty Bank into the successful community bank it is, and we are very grateful for his dedication and years of service.  We wish him much success in his retirement, and are pleased to continue to benefit from his insight as a member of the Bank’s Board.”

Camp Point, IL, June 18, 2018 – Farmers State Bank of Camp Point announced that Grant Huber has recently joined the bank as Vice President, Lending. Grant will be responsible for assisting area residents and businesses with all their financing needs, including personal, auto, home, commercial, and agricultural loans and lines of credit.

GHuber_web.jpg Most recently, Grant served as an agriculture/commercial loan officer with Famers National Bank of Griggsville, and was also previously employed by Gardner Denver.  Grant is a graduate of Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business Management.

Grant is a lifelong resident of Adams County and remains actively involved with his family’s farm operations, Huber Farms.  He currently serves as President of the Adams County Beef Producers and as a Director with both the Adams County Farm Bureau and the Pike County Beef Producers. In addition he is a member of the Illinois Beef Association, American Angus Association, American Shorthorn Association, and American Maine Anjou Association.

“I am pleased to be a part of the Farmers State Bank team,” says Huber. “Hard work is second nature to me and my first-hand knowledge of our community and our region’s strong agricultural roots helps me understand the needs of my customers, and the challenges and opportunities they face. In my new role here at Farmers, I look forward to being a partner in their success.”

Alton IL, April 25, 2018 – Liberty Bank today announced that Jane Saale has been elected to join the Bank’s Advisory Board of Directors.


“We are very pleased to add Jane to our Advisory Board of Directors. She exhibits the knowledge, character, and dedication that we value as an institution,” states Dale Blachford, President and CEO of Liberty Bank. “Jane’s commitment to the growth and well-being of our community matches our own and makes her an outstanding addition to our team.”

Saale is President and CEO of Cope Plastics, Inc., headquartered in Alton. Cope Plastics, Inc. is ranked in the top 150 privately held companies, and ranked 5th largest women-owned business in the St. Louis metro area as published by St. Louis Business Journal.

“I am looking forward to serving as an advisory director of Liberty Bank,” said Saale. “Liberty Bank has wonderful reputation of service and dedication to the residents, businesses, and organizations in our community and I welcome the opportunity to contribute to their continued success.”

Saale is an accomplished leader and has received various awards over the past years including, The Paul Davis Award of Merit with International Association of Plastics Distribution 2016, Circle of Care Honoree-Riverbend Headstart 2015, 100 St. Louisans You Should Know-St. Louis Small Business Monthly, and Most Influential Business Woman-St. Louis Business Journal. She has served as President of the International Association of Plastics Distribution, President of the Lewis & Clark Community College Foundation Board and Chairman of the Southern Illinois Employer’s Association Board.

She and her husband, Steve are lifelong residents of the Alton area and attend Godfrey First United Methodist Church. Together they have 5 children, Phillip, Melissa, Haley, Taylor, Logan and one grandchild, Hatley. Along with the Cope team, the Saales are also active in the community supporting Riverbend CEO, The Riverbend Growth Association, Riverbend Headstart and Family Services, United Way, Pride, Inc., Susan G. Komen, Friends of Kids with Cancer, several area schools and other organizations.

Carthage, IL, March 19, 2018 – Marine Bank & Trust is pleased to announce the following promotions:

Susan Starr.jpg Susan Starr has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Retail & Area Manager. Susan joined Marine Bank & Trust in 2007 as Assistant Vice President and was later promoted to Vice President. Her new responsibilities include serving as Area Manager of Marine Bank & Trust’s locations in Carthage, Hamilton, and Augusta as well as United Community Bank’s locations in Macomb, Colchester, and Bushnell.

Susan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois – Champaign, and is a 2013 graduate of the Illinois Community Bankers School. She is currently an active volunteer with Carthage Kiwanis Club, Carthage Area Chamber of Commerce, Hancock County Farm Bureau, and Memorial Hospital.


Tim Parrish.jpg Tim Parrish has been named Senior Vice President, Ag and Commercial Lending with Marine Bank & Trust. Tim joined the Bank as an experienced lender and Vice President in 2015. In addition to his new senior management role, Parrish will continue to work closely with business clients to assist them with all their commercial and agricultural lending needs.

Tim holds a B.S. Degree in Business Administration from Culver-Stockton College, is a 2009 graduate of the Community Bankers of Illinois Lending Institute, and has earned certificates from various lending programs sponsored by the Community Bankers Association of Illinois and the Illinois Bankers Association. He currently serves as president of the Carthage Kiwanis Club, board chairman of the Hancock County CEO Program, treasurer of the Carthage 4th of July committee, and a member of Saints Peter and Paul School’s Education Commission and Finance Committee.

Chatham, IL, February 7, 2017 - United Community Bancorp, Inc. (UCB), Chatham, Illinois, today announced it has completed the acquisition of Liberty Bank, a full service community bank with four locations in the Madison County, Illinois communities of Alton, Godfrey, and Bethalto.

The addition of Liberty Bank, founded in 1994, adds $321 million in assets to UCB, bringing the Company’s total assets to more than $2.5 billion; expands its footprint to include more than 45 banks in 32 communities throughout Central Illinois and northeast Missouri; and brings its total employees to more than 600.

UCB is now among the top 25 largest bank holding companies in the state of Illinois as measured by federally insured deposits. There are more than 750 bank holding companies operating in Illinois.

“While our growing size is an important part of operational strength, it never changes our philosophy,” states Robert A. Narmont, Chairman and CEO of United Community Bancorp. “Our banks are community banks that are dedicated to meeting the individual needs of each community we serve with the collective strength and resources of our much larger company.”

Liberty Bank is a strong community leader in its own right, states Todd Wise, President & CEO of United Community Bank, “and now, as a part of UCB, they will have additional opportunities to serve their current and prospective clients with our collective capabilities and resources.”

"We are excited to join the UCB family,” states Dale Blachford, President and CEO of Liberty Bank. “We look forward to the many benefits our new ownership will bring to our customers, our communities and our employees.

About United Community Bancorp, Inc.
United Community Bancorp, Inc., parent company of United Community Bank, is headquartered in Chatham, Illinois. It is an employee-owned regional bank holding company with roots dating back to 1907, when Farmer’s State Bank was established in Greenfield, IL. In 1973, a local group invested in Farmer's State Bank with the goal of delivering the ultimate in customer service while continuing to welcome other banks in central, southern, and western Illinois into the United Community Bank family. For more information, visit