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Southwest Missouri News--Neosho

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by Carol Harris, Branson area, and Marti Attoun, Joplin area

Employees of Community Bank and Trust, Neosho, have announced their purchase of an additional 22 percent interest in the bank, bringing total employee ownership in the company to 50 percent.

Rudy Farber, president of Community Bancshares, the holding company that operates Community Bank and Trust, holds the other 50 percent.

He set up the bank's employee stock ownership program in 1986 in an effort to keep the bank independently and locally owned.

In November, the employees declined a purchase offer from the Arvest Group, which is owned by Wal-Mart's Walton family, and instead voted in favor of the latest stock purchase.

Community Bank and Trust has $260 million in assets with 12 branch banks in southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas.

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