Hiring a Contractor

Thursday, July 24 at 09:55 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Whether you're planning an addition for a growing family or simply getting new storm windows, finding a competent and reliable contractor is the first step to a successful and satisfying home improvement project.

Your home may be your most valuable financial asset. That's why it's important to be cautious when you hire someone to work on it. Home improvement and repair and maintenance contractors often advertise in newspapers, the Yellow Pages, on the radio and on TV. However, don't consider an ad an indication of the quality of a contractor's work. Your best bet is a reality check from those in the know: friends, neighbors, or co-workers who have had improvement work done. Get written estimates from several firms. Ask for explanations for price variations. Don't automatically choose the lowest bidder.
Interview each contractor you're considering. Here are some questions to ask:

  • How long have you been in business? Look for a well-established company and check it out with consumer protection officials. They can tell you if there are unresolved consumer complaints on file. One caveat: If there is no record of complaints against a particular contractor that doesn't necessarily mean no previous consumer problems. It may be that problems exist, but have not yet been reported, or the contractor is doing business under several different names.
  • Are you licensed and registered with the state? While most states license electrical and plumbing contractors, only 36 states have some type of licensing and registration statutes affecting contractors, remodelers, and/or specialty contractors. The licensing can range from simple registration to a detailed qualification process. Also, the licensing requirements in one locality may be different from the requirements in the rest of the state. Check with your local building department or consumer protection agency to find out about licensing requirements in your area. If your state has licensing laws, then ask to see the contractor's license. Make sure it's current.
  • How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year? Ask for a list. This will help you determine how familiar the contractor is with your type of project.
  • Will my project require a permit? Most states and localities require permits for building projects, even for simple jobs like decks. A competent contractor will get all the necessary permits before starting work on your project. Be suspicious if the contractor asks you to get the permit(s). It could mean that the contractor is not licensed or registered, as required by your state or locality.
  • May I have a list of references? The contractor should be able to give you the names, addresses, and phone numbers of at least three clients who have projects similar to yours. Ask each how long ago the project was completed and if you can see it. Also, tell the contractor that you'd like to visit jobs in progress.
  • What types of insurance do you carry? Contractors should have personal liability, worker's compensation and property damage coverage. Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they're current. Avoid doing business with contractors who don't carry the appropriate insurance. Otherwise, you'll be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.
  • Will you be using subcontractors on this project? If yes, ask to meet them, and make sure they have current insurance coverage and licenses, if required. Also ask them if they were paid on time by this contractor. A "mechanic's lien" could be placed on your home if your contractor fails to pay the subcontractors and suppliers on your project. That means the subcontractors and suppliers could go to court to force you to sell your home to satisfy their unpaid bills from your project. Protect yourself by asking the contractor, and every subcontractor and supplier, for a lien release or lien waiver.

Do your homework on home improvement contractors by asking your friends for recommendations and interviewing the contractors using questions like those above.

Article courtesy of
Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Information.*

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Home Loans, Mortgage

Mobile Web and App Updates Available Now

Wednesday, July 23 at 08:15 AM
Category: Arvest News

We are pleased to announce an Arvest Mobile Banking update is now available to improve your experience when using the iPhone® app, iPad® app, Android™ app or Mobile Web services.

Specifically, push alerts for iPad® and Android apps are now accessible. You can enable push notifications for our mobile alerts, which include:

  • Low balance
  • Deposit confirmation
  • Overdraft posted
  • Check cleared

iPhone®* and iPad®* users will be prompted to accept the required update. Android™* users will see a refreshed interface and will be prompted to accept the required update.

Mobile Web has always put the primary functions of Arvest Online Banking within reach of your preferred mobile device. Now, however, you will see a new look that provides a more app-like visual experience.

Some of the many functions you’ll still be able to enjoy include:

  • Check balances
  • Get history
  • Transfer funds
  • Pay bills
  • Locate a branch/ATM

If you have a question or would like more information, please call (866) 952-9523.

Message and data rates may apply. Please consult your carrier for details. To opt out of text banking, text HELP to 36272 or call (866) 952-9523.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Mobile Banking, Online Services

Ozark Guidance Golf Tournament

Wednesday, July 23 at 07:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Arvest is a proud sponsor of the 19th Annual Reinert Cup Classic Golf Tournament. There's still time to sign up for a team if you'd like to participate!

WHAT:      Ozark Guidance will host their annual fundraising golf tournament. The proceeds will be used to provide counseling services for children.  Each year, Ozark Guidance serves over 14,500 people including 4,800 children.

WHEN:      Monday, July 28 starting at 7:30 a.m.

WHERE:      Springdale Country Club

PURPOSE:      Create awareness about Ozark Guidance services and provide funding for Ozark Guidance clients in Benton, Carroll, Madison and Washington counties.

DETAILS:     Sign up for the 19th Annual Reinert Cup Classic Golf Tournament at ozarkguidance.org. Please pre-register by Friday, July 25.

For media questions and opportunities please contact:

Highlights of the Ozark Guidance Reinert Cup Classic Golf Tournament:


Morning Flight
Registration 7:30 a.m.
Shotgun Start 8 a.m.
Winners will be announced during lunch in two winning flights.

Afternoon Flight
Registration 12 p.m.
Shotgun Start 1 p.m.
Winners will be announced immediately following the tournament in two winning flights.

Lunch will be served 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Lunch courtesy of Catering Unlimited)



  • Closest-to-the pin (par threes)
  • Hole-in-one on selected par three
  • Longest drive
  • First and second in two winning flights for morning and afternoon.
Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Springdale

Inaugural Report of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey

Monday, July 21 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma consumers' views of the economy are lower than the national consumer sentiment index, according to the recently released Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The inaugural report of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey was released today. The report indicates varying levels of confidence across Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The sentiment of Arkansas consumers regarding their views on the economy is lower than that of consumers in the neighboring states of Oklahoma and Missouri. All three trailed the national consumer sentiment index for June as reported by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan.

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 phone surveys.

The consumer sentiment index for Arkansas was 67.4, while Missouri was 68.6 and Oklahoma 76.4. The national index for June is 82.5.

The data was tabulated by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and evaluated on the individual state level by CBER director Kathy Deck; David Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University; and Russell Evans, director of the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute at The Meinders School of Business, Oklahoma City University.

Jason Kincy, marketing director for Arvest Bank said, “When Arvest decided to sponsor this survey, we felt it would be beneficial for our communities and customers to have a reading of how consumers are feeling about the economy in the states where we operate. These first results give us better, more localized, information in that regard than has been available in the past. What is most important is knowing where people in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma stand in their views – especially because consumers drive the majority of economic activity. Plus, with future results, we will be able to see if sentiment here is trending up or down with sentiment nationally.”

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey will be conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in late November. With each study, the index score will be released first, followed by additional information regarding specifics of consumer activities and plans.

Information about the survey, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at: www.arvest.com/consumersentiment.

About Our Research Partners
The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (CBER) 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.
The University of Oklahoma Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL) serves two functions: to provide a learning environment for the teaching of survey design, public opinion research and data analysis for the purpose of developing student capabilities to conduct academic and professional research and analysis; and to conduct research on public opinion, in order to foster knowledge about public affairs and to assist in the conduct of research on public policy of import to state and local governments, media organizations, other public and private entities, and the general public.
The Meinders School of Business (MSB) at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. MSB prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and the disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process.
The Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, serves as a clearinghouse for data and publications on economic conditions within the region, state and nation. The staff has a wide variety of experience and is able to provide consulting services, produce detailed GIS maps, economic and industry forecasts and other relevant reports.

Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.

Tags: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release

Wanna Get Away — With Less Expensive Airfare?

Wednesday, July 16 at 11:40 AM
Category: Arvest News

Planning a vacation? Whether you're thinking about visiting loved ones, relaxing on a tropical island, or visiting a big city, it's important to shop around for the best travel deals, especially airfare.

Shopping for flights can feel a little like playing the stock market. One day, prices are up, the next they drop considerably. So how do you master the art of airfare shopping? You can start by reviewing these helpful shopping pointers.

Avoid peak travel times. It's a simple fact airfares are priced higher during peak travel seasons, such as Thanksgiving and holidays. Many experts recommend that if you can, you should travel during the period between the high and low travel seasons. This is known as the "shoulder season."

Be flexible. The more flexibility you have in planning your trip, the more you may be able to save. When searching flights, try experimenting with different departure and return dates. Sometimes waiting just another day can save you hundreds of dollars.

Know when to shop. In general, airlines usually announce sales on Monday evenings so Tuesday afternoons are a great time to look for cheaper fares. Also, consider flying on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays when business travel is lower, and airlines offer cheaper flights.

Compare. Compare. Compare. If you've spent any time looking at airfare, you know different airlines can offer significantly different prices. That's why you should look at all airlines that travel to your destination.

Shop online. You can look for flights directly on airline websites or on free travel sites, such as Kayak,* Travelocity* and Orbitz,* which search several sites at once and present all your options to you in single place. Keep in mind, however, flights from travel sites are not necessarily cheaper, so be sure to look at flights from individual airline sites.

Sign up for alerts. Many travel sites and airlines offer travel alerts to notify you of sales and price changes.

Pay attention to the fees. Airlines not only vary in flight pricing but also in fees, such as baggage fees. When comparing flights and airlines be sure to know the fees for baggage. Some airlines don't charge baggage fees for the first bag, while others do. Read the fine print.

Use frequent flyer miles. If you travel the same airline often, be sure to sign up for rewards programs. This could help you get discounts and savings on your flights.

Sit back and relax. If you've followed the above tips, chances are you may have saved some money. The only thing left to do is to relax, and bring your seat backs to an upright position to prepare for takeoff!

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

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