Editor’s note: Each Monday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Money Talk,” a wrap-up of banking and financial news.
BANK OF THE OZARKS RANKED TOP ARKANSAS STOCK OVER PAST FIVE YEARS: Bank of the Ozarks was named the top performing Arkansas publicly traded concern between January 2010 and March 2015, according recent analysis by financial technology company Smart Asset. The analysis of Arkansas stocks over the past five years was based on the stock price, dividends paid and volatility, and found the risk adjusted return of the stocks, by which companies were indexed and ranked. Besides the fast-growing Little Rock-based regional bank, which recently announced it would acquire Atlanta’s Community & Southern Holdings and St. Petersburg, Fla.-based C1 Financial Inc., Dillard’s and P.A.M. Transportation ranked second and third, respectively. To view SmartAsset’s top ten ranking, click here.
AEDC DIVISION TO HOST TWO WORKSHOPS FOR MINORITY BUSINESS: The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Small and Minority Business Division will host two workshops this month geared toward minority business owners. The Certification Training Workshop will be held November 18, from 9 to 11 a.m. at AEDC’s Rockefeller Conference Room in Little Rock. The Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program workshop will follow at the same location from 2 to 4 p.m.
The Certification Assistance Workshop provides information about the state’s Minority Business Enterprise certification program. Attendees will learn who is eligible for the program and will receive assistance with the application process. In addition, benefits of certification will be highlighted as well as loan assistance for those who are state-certified. More information at www.ArkansasSMBworkshops.eventbrite.com.
SIMMONS BANK NAMES NEW REGIONAL EXECUTIVE FOR TENNESSEE: Simmons Bank has named Tony Gregory as Tennessee regional chairman, the Pine Bluff regional banking group announced Thursday. Gregory, who has three decades of banking experience, will assume his new duties on Jan. 1. He will replace John Clark, who has announced his retirement as regional chairman but will continue to serve Simmons on an advisory basis. Gregory, who lives in Jackson, joined Simmons’ newly acquired First State Bank as executive vice president in 1998. He became the bank’s president and CEO in 1999 and helped establish a presence for the west Tennessee bank in Nashville and other parts of middle Tennessee. Gregory helped grow the bank from $500 million to $2 billion in assets prior to its merger with Simmons in September.
U.S. SALARY GROWTH REMAINS FLAT, MERCER SAYS: Although the economy is improving and the job market is more robust, salary increase budgets for U.S. companies continue to show little signs of growth. According to Mercer’s “2015/2016 US Compensation Planning Survey,” the average salary increase budget is expected to be 2.9% in 2016, up slightly from the average increase budget of 2.8% in 2015. However, salary increases for top-performing employees – 7% of the workforce – will be almost twice that of average performers as companies continue to differentiate salary increases based on performance.
Mercer’s survey, which has been conducted annually for more than 25 years, includes responses from 1,504 mid-size and large employers across the U.S. and reflects pay practices for more than 17 million employees. The survey results are captured for five segments of employees: executive, management, professional (sales and non-sales), office/clerical/technician, and trades/production/service across multiple industries.