Arvest Hires Drennan as Regional Investment Officer in Fort Smith, Ark.

Thursday, March 02 at 05:55 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Industry veteran to serve Fort Smith, River Valley and Eastern Oklahoma.

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Darin Drennan has been hired as a regional investment officer for Arvest Wealth Management (AWM).

Drennan has worked in the financial services industry since 2001, helping clients with their financial goals. As regional investment officer, Drennan will focus on working with high net worth clients on asset allocation, risk management, diversification and legacy planning.

Drennan prefers a holistic approach of guiding clients through the intricacies of pursuing their life goals, and will work with a team of AWM client advisors and trust officers to properly manage their resources. He will serve the Fort Smith, River Valley and eastern Oklahoma regions for AWM.

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Fort Smith, Press Release

Malinda McSpadden Feeds Hungry – People Helping People Series

Thursday, February 16 at 01:40 PM
Category: Arvest Community News

Malinda McSpadden has found a niche with helping to feed the hungry – delivering food to people’s homes. 

"We figured out several years ago that we would have to deliver to really get it to the people who really need it," McSpadden said in regards to the Thanksgiving meal she served to over 200 Alma, Ark., residents in 2016. But, she doesn’t stop there. Malinda also focuses her volunteering efforts on young families.

To learn how Malinda helps feed the hungry and build up young families, read her story at the Times Record*. 

Malinda’s story is part of Arvest Bank’s People Helping People series featuring citizens giving back to their community. 

Keep an eye on our social media channels for more stories highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves. 

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

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith, People Helping People

Six Banks Collaborate to Award $29K in Grant Funds to Revitalize Downtown Fort Smith, Ark.

Monday, December 12 at 06:25 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Grant funds to be used for urban planning development plans.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Downtown Fort Smith, Ark., is getting a boost with the help of $29,900 in Partnership Grant Program (PGP) funds, presented today to Strategic Community Investments (SCI). The grant funds will be used for research and studies related to the development of the urban planning development plan for downtown Fort Smith. 

Mayor Sandy Sanders joined representatives from Arvest Bank, Bank of the Ozarks, Centennial Bank, First National Bank, Simmons Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas), as well as other project stakeholders, to award the grant. 

“Great change cannot occur without great partnerships,” said Mayor Sanders. “Through the Partnership Grant Program, these six banks exemplify the true meaning of partnership and commitment to community. I look forward to the changes that will occur as a result of the grants.” 

SCI Development Officer Talicia Richardson worked with the banks during the grant application process. Through project collaborator 64.6 Downtown, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the economic development of Fort Smith, SCI is funding the services of Gateway Planning, an urban design, planning, and development consulting firm, to finalize the plans to revitalize downtown Fort Smith. The Dallas-based urban planning company also spearheaded revitalization projects in Rogers, Arkansas, and McKinney, Texas. 

Ms. Richardson learned about the grant through a community investment workshop in January hosted by FHLB Dallas. She then approached five of FHLB Dallas’ member institutions to pursue funding. 

“We wanted to leverage the fact that we’re a community and we’re connected,” Ms. Richardson said. “Our goal is to build communities that are vibrant, sustainable and most of all united.” 

Arvest Bank is one of the five FHLB Dallas member institutions Ms. Richardson approached. 

“These grants will make a lasting impact on many individuals and families for years to come,” said Rodney Shepard, president of Arvest Bank in Fort Smith. “When we invest in our community, we invest in our future, and Arvest is honored to be part of this project.”

Through the PGP, member institutions contribute $500 up to $4,000 to a community-based organization (CBO). FHLB Dallas matches the contributions at a 3:1 ratio, which provide up to $12,000 in grant money to a CBO. In 2016, FHLB Dallas awarded $225,000 in PGP funds to assist 23 CBOs. Combined with the $96,200 from member institutions, a total of $321,200 was awarded this year.

“The involvement of each bank in this effort is a testament to the true intention of the PGP,” said Greg Hettrick, first vice president and director of Community Investment at FHLB Dallas. “We’re happy to have played a role in giving our members a chance to connect with the community through the PGP.” 

Ms. Richardson said that without the grant, she would have had to seek other sources of funding for the $257,000 project. While she is confident she would have found the additional capital to fund the project, she is grateful for PGP funds. 

“We’re very blessed to have been able to receive this grant through FHLB Dallas because it allowed things to go a lot faster to have those guaranteed funds coming our way,” said Ms. Richardson. 

PGP grants are offered annually through FHLB Dallas’ member institutions via a lottery system. Funds may be used for research, organizational capacity-building, grant- and funding-application assistance, or contractual services.

Morgan Farmer from the office of U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (AR), Janice Scaggs from the office of U.S. Representative Steve Womack (AR-3), and Kelsey Kelton from the office of Senator John Boozman (AR) also attended today’s event. 

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith

Bunnell Promoted to President of Arvest Equipment Finance

Thursday, December 08 at 06:15 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We're excited to see Eric Bunnell grow his career with Arvest!

FORT SMITH, Ark. – Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Eric Bunnell has been promoted from Senior Vice President and Sales Manager to President of Arvest Equipment Finance (AEF).

Bunnell, a Certified Lease & Finance Professional who is a member of the CLFP Board of Directors, has been with Arvest since 2012 and in the commercial lending industry since 2001. He also serves as a member of the National Equipment Finance Association.

In his new role, Bunnell will provide leadership and overall day-to-day direction and administration of Arvest’s commercial equipment finance division, among other duties.

“Eric’s industry experience and track record here at Arvest made him a natural choice to lead AEF,” said Craig Rivaldo, President and CEO for Arvest Bank in Benton County. “We are excited about what Eric will bring to his new role, and know that AEF is in good hands as that segment of our business continues to grow.”

AEF ended 2015 with $187.6 million in loans and leases. That was up 28 percent from 2014’s $146.4 million, according to MonitorDaily, a leading publication of the equipment leasing and finance industry. AEF’s loans and leases totaled $223.7 million at the end of October.

Bunnell is a native of Trenton, Mo., and earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at the University of Missouri. Bunnell has been active in numerous community organizations in Greater Kansas City and is relocating to Fort Smith. He and his wife, Kristin, have two daughters.

Tags: Arkansas, Associates, Fort Smith, Press Release

Nita Newman Helps Boys Shelter – People Helping People Series

Wednesday, November 23 at 07:50 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

“The Boys Shelter is a very, very special project for me,” said Nita Newman, a Fort Smith, Ark., resident who likes to volunteer in her community. “I certainly get more out of it than I give. It makes me feel good and happy to see their faces light up when they see me. It’s really a very satisfying thing. I think that’s what we’re supposed to do; we’re supposed to help people.” 

To learn how Nita helps 12 boys ages 7-13, read her story at the Times Record*.

Nita Newman’s story is part of Arvest Bank’s People Helping People series featuring citizens giving back to their community. 

Keep an eye on our social media channels for both videos and written stories highlighting the good works of dedicated citizens in the communities Arvest Bank serves. 

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

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith, People Helping People

Blue Lion Bikeway Ribbon Cutting in Fort Smith, Ark. Sept. 7

Tuesday, August 30 at 06:45 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

It's an honor for Arvest Bank to make a $50,000 donation to the Blue Lion Bikeway in Fort Smith, Ark., and to co-sponsor the ribbon cutting on Sept. 7.

The path to downtown Fort Smith just got a little easier for the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus community and those living along the seven miles of streets now designated as the Blue Lion Bikeway, a path that will benefit Fort Smith residents and will be celebrated during a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Sept. 7 at the Campus Green at UAFS.

Co-sponsored by Arvest Bank and UAFS, the ribbon cutting will recognize the bikeway connecting the campus to the city’s downtown area via seven miles of streets designated as sharrows, or shared bicycle lanes. The corridor spans Kinkead Ave., Park Ave. and North E St.

The bikeway was made possible through a $50,000 donation from Arvest in January to fund the installation of traffic signs and the painting of the sharrow designation on city roads, and the route will offer numerous perks to the Fort Smith community.

Specifically, the city will see a benefit by connecting neighborhoods to parks and public facilities, promoting exercise for local residents, improving land values, and growing economic development. Moreover, the painted roadways will provide a safety factor by reminding motorists of the presence of bike riders along this designated route.

“The bikeway is hitting multiple areas where people will benefit,” said Chris Raible, Business Banking Manager at Arvest and member of the Parks and Recreation Committee. “It’s going to increase commerce to downtown just from people biking down there, and studies have shown that trails and bikeways increase land values where they’re located.”

Raible said the bikeway will serve as a “connecting point” for the network of trails comprising the city’s burgeoning trails and greenways system. The bikeway will link to the recently completed Greg Smith Riverwalk Trail along the Arkansas River.

Running more than 30 miles, the trails system was commissioned by the city’s Parks and Recreation Committee after overwhelming community support. Local businesses that have supported the trails system include Arvest, Sparks Health System, Propak Logistics, BHC Insurance, Littlefield Oil, Hanna Oil & Gas, Mercy Health, Walther Arms, First National Bank of Fort Smith, and Weldon, Williams & Lick.

Raible pointed to the 2014 Fort Smith Comprehensive Plan, where the trails and greenways system was mentioned more than 40 times in the document, as evidence of support for the system.

“Because the comprehensive plan was a project compiled by the citizens of Fort Smith to outline a vision of the future for the community, that really emphasizes that this is something the citizens want,” Raible said.

UAFS students played an integral part in shaping the bikeway, as the university selected a student to be a member of the Trails and Greenways Committee, which allowed the students to have a voice in the bikeway’s creation, in addition assisting the committee in gathering data.

In a show of student support, the university’s Student Government Association passed a resolution in 2014 supporting a route connecting the campus to the trails and greenways system. 

“Every major city around us has trails systems, and it really is a strong draw for young people,” said Matthew Farrar, a UAFS graduate who served as the UAFS representative to the committee. “This is one more step towards a healthier and greener community, but also a community that is focused on keeping young people here and addressing their interests and needs.”

The ribbon cutting is free and open to the public, and free food and drink will be available for those in attendance. For more information, contact Dr. Elizabeth Underwood, associate vice chancellor for government and community relations, at 479-788-7008 or

Tags: Arkansas, Community Support, Fort Smith, Press Release

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