Oklahoma-based Grand Savings Bank, which has a large footprint in Benton County, has made a key hire that clearly signals its intention to expand into Washington County.
The locally owned bank has hired longtime Fayetteville banker Bob King as executive vice president of commercial lending. An official announcement is expected later this week.
King has nearly 40 years of banking experience and has worked for The Bank of Fayetteville since 1999. He served as executive vice president of lending operations from July 2004 to December 2015, when he was appointed the lender’s new top executive in the Northwest Arkansas market.
The promotion came five months after BOF was acquired by Stuttgart-based Farmers and Merchants Bank. BOF, however, maintained its name on its eight Northwest Arkansas branches — five in Fayetteville and one each in Farmington, Prairie Grove and West Fork — and is doing business as a division of F&M Bank.
King replaced Mary Beth Brooks, BOF’s former president and CEO. She resigned effective Nov. 30, 2015, the day F&M’s acquisition was officially granted regulatory approval, and BOF’s charter was automatically collapsed into F&M Bank’s holding company, The Farmers and Merchants Bankshares Inc.
Natalie Bartholomew, Grand Savings Bank’s vice president and chief marketing officer, said King will mostly work remotely “until we get everything nailed down” regarding official plans for a Washington County office.
Grand Savings Bank was chartered in 1981 and was sold to a group of investors, most of them from Northwest Arkansas, in April 2013. Its leadership team is led by chairman Tony Steele, vice chairman Tyler Steele, his son, and CEO Guy Cable.
The bank had just two branches when it was acquired, one each in the Delaware County towns of Grove and Jay, just across the Arkansas border. Aided by the acquisition of Decatur State Bank in late 2014, Grand Savings Bank now has eight Arkansas branches. It has Benton County offices in Bentonville, Rogers (2), Gentry, Gravette, Decatur and Siloam Springs, and another in Fort Smith in Sebastian County. The company has also established a third Oklahoma branch, in Fairland.
Grand Savings Bank held $440.9 million in assets as of March 31, according to the FDIC. That’s up nearly 90% since the new ownership took over. The bank finished 2017 with net income of $6.04 million, compared to $1.6 million in 2013.
According to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s annual list published this past April of Largest Private Banks ranked by ROA (return on assets) ratio, Grand Savings Bank ranked No. 5 among 27 banks doing business in the six-county market area with a 1.49% ROA ratio.