Seventeen financial institutions with 52 offices in Faulkner County had $3.1 billion in deposits in FY 2022. It marks nearly a doubling in the value of deposits from FY 2012 when 16 financial institutions with 62 offices had $1.6 billion in deposits.
That growth in the banking sector is attributed to several financial institutions whose Conway business is important to their overall growth
First Security Bank Crosses $1B in Assets
First Security Bank, headquartered in Searcy, recently crossed $1 billion in assets in its Conway market. The market boasts 28,000 personal customers, 4,000 business customers, and 95 employees across its six branches. The Conway market also extends to locations in Vilonia, Mayflower, Clinton, and Greenbrier.
First Security Bank first entered Conway in 1995.
“Conway was our first entry into the Little Rock metro,” said Conway Market President Johnny Adams. “Our business in the Little Rock metro has grown a lot since then and has extended into North Little Rock, Little Rock, Maumelle, Benton, Bryant, Cabot, Beebe, and Hot Springs. Conway remains a large part of that business.”
Crews & Associates, a public finance firm owned by First Security Bank’s holding company, allows work in Conway to go deeper, said Adams.
“We’ve done a lot of work in Conway at the new high school, buildings at UCA, and private-sector projects,” he said. “We’re proud to bring banking and public finance to the table when we talk about making communities better.”
First Service Bank Plans New Conway Location
First Service Bank, headquartered in Greenbrier, is in the middle of bringing a new location to Conway. The bank will be a two-story, nearly 5,000 square feet facility. The location has not been announced. First Service Bank has been headquartered in Faulkner County since 1999.
“We live and work here; this is home,” said Kevin Wish, communty president and senior lender. “Everything is local. We want to be involved in the community as much as we can, and our entire team is focused on that same goal.”
First Service Bank employs 16 in Conway and 75 in Faulkner County.
“We’re excited to see the growth of Conway and Faulkner County,” said Jon Patrom, vice president of marketing. “Banking is a fun industry in that we get to take care of our community through financial services such as buying a home or starting a business, but we also get to volunteer in our community.”
A newer initiative from the bank is its Operation Red, White, & Brave, carried out through the bank’s nonprofit foundation that assists active military, veterans and their families. Among its achievements, the foundation has built a home for a Little Rock veteran in 2021. The foundation is funded through donations that are matched by the bank.
First Community Bank Sees Capacity for Growth as New Downtown Facility Nears Completion
When First Community Bank, headquartered in Batesville, entered Conway in 2019, the plan was always to construct a banking center. It just wasn’t supposed to take this long, but a global pandemic slowed things down. Just months after it opened on Front Street, COVID-19 forced it to close its doors.
Through it all, growth has occurred for First Community Bank in this market. Now, things are nearing completion on its banking center in downtown Conway on Harkrider Street.
“To say we are patiently awaiting the completion of our new banking facility is quite an understatement,” said Grant Gordy, community president for the Conway region. “We’re thrilled with the progress that has been made to this point and can’t wait for the completion of our new bank home in historic downtown Conway. At that time, we will be adding more staff and expanding our services in a variety of ways. Downtown Conway is still the place to be, and with the addition of our banking center, it will assuredly enhance an already beautiful streetscape.”
Senior Vice President Lori Melton called Conway the “ultimate growth community in the state.”
“We came here to be a part of it and hired a team that could make it happen,” she said.
Centennial Bank: A Community Bank Traded on Wall Street
With assets totaling more than $22 billion, it may not technically be considered a community bank anymore, but that’s the way Centennial Bank operates, said Donna Townsell, senior vice president and director of investor relations for Home BancShares, the bank-holding company for Centennial Bank.
“Being headquartered here in Conway is everything to us,” Townsell said. “This is our home. We started as a bank to be able to take care of friends and family, and that continues through today.”
Since its creation in 1999, then as First State Bank, Centennial Bank has expanded across Arkansas, and into the region with locations throughout Alabama, Florida, and Texas. It has completed 25 acquisitions in that period, and has been consistently ranked by Forbes among the nation’s and world’s best banks.
It has been ranked in Forbes’ Best Banks in America listing for nine consecutive years, and has been ranked No. 1 in three of the last six years. It has been included on Forbes’ World’s Best Banks list the last four years, and was ranked No. 15 in 2023.
Centennial Bank (NYSE:HOMB) was the only bank with more than a billion in deposits with $1.1 billion. Five-hundred and fifty-four of its employees live and work in Faulkner County.
“We are large enough to partner with customers on large commercial projects, yet small enough to know our customers and support our community,” Townsell said. “Corporate citizenship is important to us.”