Freedom National Bank Names former Citizens Bank Executive to Key Post

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 14, 2012

CONTACT: Eric Cote, Cote & D'Ambrosio

(401) 294-4444

(401) 374-8500 cell

David R. Caruso Named Vice President and Director of Business Development

Greenville, RI – Freedom National Bank announced today that David R. Caruso has been appointed to the newly created position of Vice President and Director of Business Development.

Caruso most recently served as Vice President of Business Banking with Citizens Bank, where he was employed for the past ten years. During his tenure with Citizens Bank, Caruso was a leading producer, ranking in the top three in sales volume across all Citizens markets. In addition to his banking experience, Caruso successfully operated two businesses over a 24 year period.

In his new position with Freedom National Bank, Caruso will lead business development for both commercial and consumer banking while also helping the bank develop innovative new small business products. In addition to assisting with the development of enhanced cash management services for small businesses, Caruso said he plans to grow Freedom's deposit base and SBA lending while also expanding Freedom's footprint throughout the entire state.

"We are very excited to bring someone of David's caliber on board," said Freedom National Bank President and CEO Tony Botelho. Botelho was named President and CEO of Freedom National Bank in 2011. Since his appointment, he has continued to build an executive team that includes other veteran bankers like Caruso.

"I look forward to bringing my years of banking experience and business lending to Freedom National Bank," said Caruso. "Freedom has developed an excellent reputation in Northern Rhode Island and I look forward to helping expand the reach of the bank to meet the lending and deposit needs of customers throughout Rhode Island."

Caruso said his excitement for the new position stems in part from his own history as a small business owner. "When I meet with small businesses to talk about their banking needs, I can relate to that small business owner from personal experience," said Caruso. "That makes a big difference because I truly understand what it takes to run a small business. I've done closings at people's homes at 6 am because that was the only time they could do it. I am excited to bring that level of personal service to Freedom's growing customer base."

Caruso said another reason for his excitement over his new position is the Freedom's status as a locally operated bank that has both capital and the flexibility to meet the varied needs of small businesses.

A resident of Cumberland, Caruso holds a Bachelors Degree in economics from Northeastern University.

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