Arvest Bank

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Arvest Bank
Private
Industry Finance, Banking, Mortgage
Founded 1961
Headquarters Bentonville, Arkansas
Key people
Chairman Jim Walton
Products Checking, savings, home loans, business services, credit cards, loans, investments, insurance, financial planning, trust, asset management, and cash management services.
Total assets More than $10 Billion USD (2009)
Number of employees
Over 5000
Website arvest.com

Arvest Bank is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, with branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Beginning with Benton County's first automatic teller machine (ATM) in 1976 and the launch of an Internet banking web site in 1998, Arvest Bank has been modernizing its services. Arvest Bank's Chairman of the Board is Jim Walton, son of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.

Since the home office and charter of McIlroy Bank & Trust in Fayetteville (founded in 1871), acquired by Arvest in 1986, have become Arvest's own official home office and charter, Arvest has reasonable claim to being the oldest bank in Arkansas. However, since Arvest still asserts separate identities for its banking operations in each community (despite its consolidated charter), it only makes that claim in Fayetteville. Arvest itself traces its beginnings to an acquisition of The Bank of Bentonville, in Walton's hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, in 1961. Through its various acquisitions over the years, and as a result of buyouts of other Arkansas banks, Arvest has grown to its current position as the largest Arkansas-based bank in terms of market share.

Arvest operates in 16 locally managed markets, each with its own president, management team and board of directors, in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. The majority of Arvest's 230+ branches are open 12-hours a day during the week and many locations are open on Saturdays. Arvest bank is the largest bank in Arkansas and has the most banking locations in the state of Oklahoma.

Company history[edit]

It has been reported by many sources including Forbes that Arvest Bank is owned and controlled by the Walton family of Walmart fame, although Arvest is operated separately from the famous retail chain. Sam Walton's son Jim runs the company. In 2003, Jim, his brother and his mother owned a combined stake of 96.14% of the company.

Since its early days set in the backdrop of 1960's small-town America, Arvest Bank has evolved from a group of small banks to a big bank. The bank has experienced significant growth both in its size and depth of products since its early days. Arvest claims to have kept its community foundation while offering customers the convenience and technological advantages of a larger corporation, keeping stability, sound financial practices and customer service at the heart of its mission.[1]

The Arvest story began in 1961 with the majority shareholders’ purchase of The Bank of Bentonville in Bentonville, Arkansas, which was followed in 1963 with the acquisition of a small bank in the nearby town of Pea Ridge, Ark. In 1975, another bank was purchased in the neighboring town of Rogers, Ark., and for almost a decade afterwards, these banks, each of them run independently and managed locally, were the entire banking network now known as Arvest.

In 1984, the organization began a period of rapid growth and expansion by acquiring or starting banks in the following communities:

By the end of 1992, what was then known as Northwest Arkansas Bancshares, had reached $1 billion in total assets. Each of the banks was still managed locally, controlled by a local board of directors and retained its own name.

After a few years of experimenting with its retailing strategies, including opening the first Arvest branch inside a grocery store, the bank group began another period of growth and expansion, marked most notably by entry into the following markets:

By this time, the holding company had adopted the Arvest name and many of the local banks began to do the same, while retaining their community-focused structure of local control by local management teams and boards of directors. As 2003 dawned, Arvest Bank had total assets of $4.6 billion.

By the end of the year, that would increase by nearly 40 percent to $6.4 billion, primarily as a result of the acquisition of Superior Bank, a $1.7 billion financial institution based in Fort Smith with more than 57 branch locations in Arkansas and Oklahoma. With the opening of new banking centers, expansion continued to occur within these two states over the next several years. This growth period also trickled over into Missouri as Arvest established a presence in Branson and Springfield, Mo.

The latter part of the decade would bring technological growth, including the bank’s first mobile banking application and significant expansion of its presence on the internet, as well as physical growth. During this time, three additional markets were added to the Arvest family:

In addition to its banking network, Arvest also provides a wide range of financial services including loans, deposits, treasury management, asset and wealth management, life insurance, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest operates a mortgage company, credit card company, title company, trust company, asset management company, insurance company and mortgage servicing company.

On January 19, 2013, Arvest won approval to buy 29 Bank of America branches. The purchase is expected to close on March 22, 2013.[2]

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