Citizens Bank of Batesville plans second Fayetteville branch, hires first city president in Rogers

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,097 views 

Batesville-chartered The Citizens Bank, which has two offices in Northwest Arkansas, is expanding its footprint in the region.

The northeast Arkansas-based lender closed recently on a $2.2 million purchase of an empty bank branch at 3971 W. Wedington Drive in Fayetteville, just west of Interstate 49.

Simmons Bank of Pine Bluff was the previous owner of the 3,442-square-foot property, taking ownership after acquiring Metropolitan National Bank in November 2013. The property totals 2.15 acres. T.J. Lefler with commercial real estate firm Sage Partners represented Simmons Bank in the deal.

Doug Lynch, Citizens Bank’s market president in Northwest Arkansas, said the building will eventually be the bank’s second Fayetteville office.

“We’re doing some preliminary architectural stuff for a slight remodel, and we plan to have it open as a full-service branch in the last quarter this year,” Lynch said.

Citizens Bank entered the Northwest Arkansas market in February 2015 by establishing an office at 1676 E. Joyce Blvd. It was initially a loan production office, but was converted to a full-service banking office later that summer. That same year, in October, Citizens Bank announced the acquisition of Parkway Banshares Inc., the holding company of Rogers-based lender Parkway Bank.

As of Dec. 31, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Citizens Bank had $751 million in assets. It also had income of $6.3 million in 2016, almost a 45% jump from the previous year, aided by the Parkway acquisition.

Citizens Bank has 18 offices in 12 cities across Arkansas — Arkadelphia, Batesville, Cave City, Crossett, Hot Springs, Imboden, Monticello, Mountain View, Pleasant Plains, Portland, Rogers and Fayetteville.

According to the FDIC’s most recent Summary of Deposits report last June, Citizens Bank — which had total deposits of $569.1 million — held $36.3 million in deposits in its two Northwest Arkansas locations.

Doug Lynch, Northwest Arkansas market president for Citizens Bank of Batesville

Lynch said total deposits in the two branches now are about $45 million.

Without revealing specific aspects of the bank’s strategic growth plan in the region, Lynch said Citizens Bank’s next expansion will likely be in Benton County in 2018, then another in Washington County the following year.

“We are trying to fill out both [Benton and Washington county] markets and be strategic about doing it,” Lynch said. “Our theme is we don’t want to put our fixed overhead and our staffing ahead of where our growth numbers are. We’re being cautious about the types of loans we pursue and trying to be conservative.”

Citizens Bank has nine employees in Rogers and six in Fayetteville. Lynch also said the bank has hired Ron Branscum as city president in Rogers, a newly created position.

Branscum worked for Arvest Bank in Benton County from 1998 to 2010, and since then has owned a speech therapy company in Rogers. Branscum said he will transition away from that role and assume full-time duties with the bank on June 5.

“Citizens wants to grow their footprint in Northwest Arkansas and this is a great opportunity to come in and provide leadership for the Rogers market,” Branscum said.

Branscum is also a board member at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.