When Zane Ludwick graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in finance, he already had five years’ worth of real-world banking experience under his belt.
The early involvement helped Ludwick get a foot in the door at Arvest Bank, where he is advancing within the state’s largest banking organization with increasing levels of responsibility.
Ludwick was initially hired in 2008 as a commercial credit analyst, then promoted to a commercial banker after four years.
Named a vice president two years later when he was 27, Ludwick now manages a diverse commercial portfolio totaling between $40 million and $50 million.
Ludwick got his start in the financial services industry when he was 17, through a banking youth apprenticeship program offered through Springdale High School. He spent his mornings at SHS and the afternoons working for Community Bank of North Arkansas (now Chambers Bank) in Fayetteville.
He continued working for the bank over the next four years while attending the UA, and Ludwick believes the experience helped him when applying for a highly sought-after position as a credit analyst with Arvest Bank’s commercial lending team in Fayetteville.
Experience also didn’t hurt considering the year was 2008, the year the financial system collapsed.
“There were other Arvest associates who were also seeking that job, so I was very pessimistic at my chances,” Ludwick recalled. “Without all the experience [before graduating college], when the market shifted, I may not have been the right candidate.”
Ludwick credits a high school teacher, Kelly Williamson, for her suggestion of the apprenticeship program. He also counts Craig Shy, Arvest Bank’s executive vice president and loan manager, as having a significant influence on his career.
“This is a great place to work,” Ludwick said.
Ludwick, who is married and a doting father of a 2-year-old son, says deer hunting has been a favorite hobby for years.
His community involvement includes volunteering in different capacities with the Susan G. Komen Ozark Affiliate, participating in the current Leadership Fayetteville class, and serving as a board member for the NWA Center for Sexual Assault.