Dennis Smiley, former local bank president and CEO of Arvest Benton County, his father, Dennis Smiley Sr. of De Queen, and an entity controlled by Dennis Smiley, HDS Holdings LLC, are being sued for $245,000 by Delta Trust & Bank of Little Rock.
According to the complaint filed March 25 in Benton County Circuit Court, the Smiley’s obtained the Delta loan in February. The suit alleges breach of contract and unjust enrichment. According to the filing, the Smileys “are either unable or unwilling to pay the obligations owed to the lender.”
Also on Wednesday, a report published by Little Rock-based ArkansasBusiness.com cited anonymous sources saying Smiley is under federal criminal investigation for loan fraud, using a scam that dates back to 2010 and involving as many as 18 banks.
Smiley, president of the Benton County market since April 2012, abruptly resigned the job March 13. He also resigned from the boards of the Jones Trust and the Northwest Arkansas Community College Foundation just a few days later.
The Northwest Arkansas Business Journal has also learned Smiley has been removed from the board of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, on which he sat as a representative of Arvest, and the board of the Arkansas Bankers Association.
Smiley’s recently remodeled, 3,160-SF home on Champions Drive at Pinnacle Country Club went on the market March 18, with a list price of $649,000. It’s listed with luxury real estate firm Portfolio of Rogers.
According to Benton County land records, Smiley purchased the home for $385,000 in April 2012, just around the time he was promoted to the job in Benton County, the largest of Arvest’s 16 locally managed markets.
Arvest is expected to soon name a successor to Smiley. The bank is looking to replace him with someone already inside the Arvest infrastructure, who, in the words of bank spokesman Jason Kincy, “understands and lives the Arvest culture of serving the needs of the local community.”
Scott Grigsby, executive vice president and regional manager for Arvest Bank Group, is serving as the interim president for Arvest Benton County until a new local president is in place.
Smiley joined Arvest in 1989 as a commercial loan officer in Fayetteville, and by the time he ascended to the top of the Benton County market, had more than a decade of experience as CEO of Arvest Springdale.
He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas, and is also a graduate of the Stonier School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.