Wednesday, April 16 at 06:15 AM
Category: Business Banking

If there is one thing I’ve learned living the agricultural life, it is that flexibility is a must. The best laid plans can, and will, go out the window in a heartbeat, whether it’s the cows getting out, a freak ice storm, weeks without rain after weeks of downpours, or even political tensions half a world away affecting our commodity markets here at home. Flexibility and agriculture go hand in hand.

A recent example would be the propane crisis a few weeks ago. Prices in our area more than doubled almost overnight, brought on by a perfect storm of industry hits. For many, the timing couldn’t have been worse. As we were hit with the coldest spell of weather year-to-date, many poultry and swine producers had no choice if they were to keep their livestock alive, putting a huge financial strain on their operations.

Another example this past year is the outbreak of PEDv in the swine industry. The results have been devastating not only financially but physically and emotionally as the virus as an almost 100 percent mortality in young pigs once it hits a farm. The loss of production for even a cycle or two can burden an operation with expenses running even higher and no income coming in to compensate.

The last example is ongoing – weather. For several years now one portion or another of our country has been bit by severe drought while other by devastating floods. Even in “normal” years, our production is affected by weather changes – summer showers during hay season, wet fields at harvest time, high winds (or tornados) flattening fields in springtime. Not only does weather affect the production, it affects the price, driving prices of commodities up or down as supply and demand take their toll.

So how do we cope when it’s out of our hands, without throwing in the towel or losing our shirts?  Flexibility. For those affected by the propane crisis, perhaps it meant refusing a flock until prices went down, dipping into emergency funds or even approaching their integrator for assistance. Swine producers have become extra vigilant in biosecurity measures, some making changes to their buildings and day-to-day operations, and some allowing PEDv to run its course through their herd in order to build antibodies and protect future piglets from the disease. And when it comes to weather, we put in place risk management measures to protect our livelihoods – crop and livestock insurance, price protection measures, emergency operating lines.

And in all of these, we have to maintain a good working relationship with our bankers. If we keep them in the loop, our bankers will know how to react when a crisis comes our way and help us put a plan in place so that we can keep on keeping on. We in agriculture pray for the good, endure the bad and continue through it all. It is a lifestyle and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking

Whitney Harrison Named Community Lender in Cassville, Mo.

Wednesday, April 16 at 05:20 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We're excited to have Whitney Harrison, a local from the Cassville, Mo. area, serve in that community as a new Community Bank Lender specializing in agriculture.

CASSVILLE, Mo. — Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Whitney Harrison has joined Arvest Bank in Cassville as a Community Bank Lender specializing in agriculture lending.

Harrison has previously worked as a loan application analyst in the Silverlake Implementations department for Jack Henry & Associates and as a financial services officer for FCS Financial.

“Whitney is a great addition to our Arvest Bank team,” said Arvest Bank Community President Mark Davis. “She is a native of Cassville who has a unique understanding of the agricultural customers’ needs.”

Harrison is a 2008 graduate of Cassville High School and earned her Associate degree in general agriculture from Crowder College in 2010. She graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in agriculture business with an emphasis in marketing and sales in 2011.

Harrison was born and raised on a farm just outside of Cassville. She is a member of the Braunvieh Association and the American Angus Association.

She is the daughter of Mike Harrison and Teresa Harrison. She attends Oak Ridge Missionary Baptist Church.

Tags: Arvest Benton County, Associates, Missouri, Press Release

Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Job Hunters

Tuesday, April 15 at 11:20 AM
Category: Arvest News

Social media, when used properly, can be helpful in a plethora of pursuits, including job-hunting. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can help you find available jobs and grow your career once you secure gainful employment.

Used in the wrong ways, however, social media can jeopardize potential job offers. That’s why it’s important to remember some common dos and don’ts when it comes to using social media in your hunt for a job.


  • Create an online presence. Doing so can help you highlight your skills, experience and accomplishments. Online profiles also can help you connect with people who can help with your job search. They also give you an opportunity to participate in discussions and show your knowledge in your chosen field.
  • Be consistent. Your job history – companies, titles, dates, etc. – should be the same regardless of the platform. Inconsistencies can be a red flag. Updating your profiles and accounts also is critical. Maintenance doesn’t have to be daily, but it’s better to be up-to-date and engaged on a few sites than appear to be inactive or careless on a large number of sites.
  • Be informed. It’s pretty easy for potential employers to find information about you online simply by Googling your name. It’s a good idea to do the same so that you know what people are able to discover about you online.


  • Forget that what you post, tweet, etc. lives forever. OK, maybe “forever” is too strong a word, but once foul language, a potentially offensive comment or over-the-top criticism is online, it’s hard to take back. The same goes for racy photos or ones more appropriate for a dating site than a professional networking site. Employers easily can find proof of your online presence, so don’t give them something that will leave a bad first impression.
  • Neglect your privacy settings. For example, both Facebook and Twitter posts can be completely public, depending on your privacy settings. However, even with restrictive settings, your friends and/or followers could re-post your information without your permission or knowledge. That should be enough to convince you to check – and make sure you understand – your privacy options.
  • Be careless. This is important in a couple of areas. Using slang or poor grammar, or misspelling words can reflect poorly on you. So, too, can “friends” or contacts you add just because they asked. Remember to choose your contacts carefully or you’ll risk negative associations that might hurt your reputation.

In the end, social media can be a boost to your efforts in landing the kind of job you want. Just keep in mind that you want to give your online presence the same care and consideration you’d give to what you say or wear in a face-to-face interview.

Tags: Technology

Ways to Improve Curb Appeal

Monday, April 14 at 10:50 AM
Category: Arvest News

Spring is in the air, and that means longer days, warmer temperatures and precious time in the great outdoors. And because you'll be spending so much more time outside, spring is a great time to give your home's exterior a boost. Here are simple and inexpensive ways you can improve the appearance of your home.

Freshen your front door. After a long winter, front entryways and doorways can become tired and worn. A smart way to awaken them is to apply a fresh coat of paint. Be sure to paint the trim around the doorway. You also can dress up your front door with a nice craft or decoration such as a spring wreath.

Buy a fresh mat. It's the start of a new season, so replace your welcome mat with a fresh clean one.

Replace doorknobs, knockers and other hardware. You can freshen up a dull entryway with shiny new fixtures, such as doorknobs and knockers. Changing fixtures can make your door seem new.

Get new house numbers. Over time, house numbers can get rusty and old. Replacing them with shiny new numbers is an inexpensive way to freshen up your home.

Replace door lighting. Everything looks better in the right light. That holds true of your front entryway. Consider replacing old lights with fresh lights.

Freshen your mailbox. Don't forget your mailbox; it's part of your house, too. Consider giving it a paint job or purchasing a new one. If it's in your budget, add a fancy wooden or granite post.

Paint shutters. You don't need a complete paint job to make your house pop. To save money, simply take down your shutters and paint them. You'll be surprised the difference a fresh coat of paint can make.

Add some new greenery. Do you have shrubs and bushes that are overgrown or damaged? Consider replacing them with new shrubbery. At the very least, trim your shrubs and clean up the area or beds where they lie.

Paint railings. With a can of spray paint, you can give new life to tired old metal railings. If you have wooden railings, give them a fresh coat of paint or stain.

By taking these simple steps, you'll improve your home's "curb appeal" and make your neighbors happy, too. If you’d like to put your home up for sale and upgrade to a new home, then these improvements could make your home more appealing to homebuyers and potentially help your home to sell faster.

If you’re in the market for a home loan, then now is the time to get one from Arvest. We’re saving you $500 on closing costs for home loans locked between April 1 and May 31, 2014. Apply online or visit your nearest Arvest location today for more information. Feeling overwhelmed with the home buying process? Check out our Pinterest board for tips to navigate the twists and turns of buying a home.

Subject to credit approval. Your Arvest Mortgage Loan rate must be locked between April 1 and May 31, 2014, to receive the $500 closing cost discount. The discount will appear on your final HUD-1 statement at closing. Discount is good on new purchase transactions only. Discount is available for consumer purpose loans. Discount cannot be applied to any amount required for down payment, any fee financed, or seller or any third party paid closing costs. In the event the seller or any third party pays 100 percent of the buyer’s closing costs and pre-paid fees, the buyer will receive a rate reduction equivalent to $500. Discount cannot be combined with any other offer. Member FDIC. EHL.

Tags: Home Loans, Mortgage

Vacancy Rates Mixed In Multifamily, Down In Commercial Market in Northwest Arkansas

Monday, April 14 at 07:10 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Arvest released the second half of its Skyline Reports. The second half focuses on multifamily and commercial real estate in Northwest Arkansas including vacancy rates and the absorption of existing spaces. The first half of the report, released last month, focused on the residential real estate market in the same geographic area.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arvest Bank today released its Skyline Reports on multifamily and commercial real estate in Northwest Arkansas for the last six months of 2013.

The multifamily real estate market’s vacancy rates were mixed in Benton and Washington counties. While the vacancy rates in Fayetteville and Bentonville increased, those in the area’s other major cities dropped. Overall, Northwest Arkansas’ vacancy rate increased to 5.8 percent in the second half of 2013 from the 4.3 percent reported in the same period of 2012 and up from the 4.0 percent reported in the first half of 2013.

Fayetteville experienced a large jump in vacancy rates, up to 7.7 percent from 4.6 percent in the second half of 2012, as 1,989 new bedrooms were added to the market in the last six months of 2013. Bentonville’s vacancy rate increased to 6.3 percent from the 2.4 percent reported in the second half of 2012.

“The multifamily market continues to be very tight in Northwest Arkansas and that will continue until new units are added across the region,” said Kathy Deck, lead researcher for the Skyline Report at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. “A tight market presents opportunities for developers across the communities of the region and we expect to see continuing announcements of additional units in the coming months.”

While the new student-driven multifamily complexes added to Fayetteville’s available supply of large-scale multifamily housing, the rise in Bentonville’s vacancy rate seems to be localized primarily in the complexes near the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, Deck said.

“We have also seen an increase in single family housing construction and absorption in that area, so the shift in the two areas may be related,” Deck said.

The average monthly lease price for a multifamily property unit in Northwest Arkansas increased slightly to $556.71 in the second half of 2013 from $545 reported in the first half of 2013. The average monthly lease rate per square foot was $0.66, up just two cents from the 0.64 reported in June 2013.

Positive absorption of existing space continues to bring down vacancy rates in the commercial real estate market in Northwest Arkansas, Deck said, although there remains a great deal of unoccupied space that is not generating income for owners.

Vacancy rates in the second half of 2013 decreased slightly in all submarkets of commercial real estate except for the medical office submarket. Medical office, which vacancy rate increased to 12.8 percent in the second half of 2013, was the only subcategory that reported an increase in the vacancy rate during the first half of 2013, up to 12.3 percent from the 9.9 percent reported at the end of 2012.

“We continue to see new development happening in the ‘hot spots’ of activity — Bentonville and the I540 corridor in Rogers,” Deck said. “We know that the activity is concentrated, but we are seeing increasing levels of building from more than just a couple of development companies. The plans in place mean that we are going to see a number of new developments come on line in the coming year.”

“As more businesses and developers are examining the market for opportunities, we remain cautiously optimistic for controlled, measured growth in Northwest Arkansas,” said Kent Williamson, Loan Manager with Arvest Bank in Springdale. “As always, the right development in the right location is good for the developer, good for the area and good for the lender that finances it. We at Arvest want to be known for helping with the right developments.”

In the second half of 2013, 492,006 total square feet of commercial space were absorbed, while 106,399 new square feet were added, netting positive absorption of 385,607 square feet in Northwest Arkansas. 

The largest gains in absorption came in the retail submarket with 140,357 square feet, the office/warehouse submarket with net positive absorption of 83,495 square feet and the warehouse submarket with net positive absorption of 65,767 square feet. The office and industrial submarkets had positive net absorption of 33,471 square feet and 33,051 square feet respectively, while the retail/warehouse submarket had positive net absorption of 28,653 square feet and the office/retail submarket had positive net absorption of 813 square feet. 

Conversations by CBER researchers with commercial developers and property managers during the second half of 2013 tended to be optimistic as to the growth opportunities of the economy in Northwest Arkansas. Panelists said that Class A office and retail markets continue to have the most potential for new growth, particularly in established “hot” locations. Multiple developers are ready and willing to build.

The Arvest Skyline Report is a biannual analysis of the latest commercial, single-family residential and multifamily residential property markets in Benton and Washington counties. The report is sponsored by Arvest Bank and conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Sam. M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas (CBER).

In 2004, Arvest Bank entered into a contract with CBER to collect information about the local real estate markets. CBER researchers aggregated and analyzed data from local governments, property managers, visual inspections and the business media to provide a complete picture of the status of property markets in the two counties.

The Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business provides excellence in applied economic and business research to federal, state and local government, as well as to businesses currently operating or those that desire to operate in the state of Arkansas. The center further works to improve the economic opportunities of all Arkansans by conducting policy research in the public interest.

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Benton County, Fayetteville, Press Release, Rogers, Siloam Springs, Springdale

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