Arvest announces new role for former Bear State CEO Matt Machen

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 1,408 views 

Matt Machen

Fayetteville-chartered Arvest Bank has created a new operations role for Matt Machen — regional executive of enhanced banking services.

Machen joined Arvest this year following its acquisition of Bear State Financial Inc., the publicly traded holding company of Bear State Bank. Arvest completed its all-cash purchase — for $391 million — in April. At the time of the acquisition, Machen was president and CEO of the holding company and the bank.

In his new role at Arvest, according to a news release, Machen will manage Arvest’s wealth management, treasury management, mortgage production, equipment finance, small business administration and group credit administration divisions, as well as Waco Title Co., an Arvest affiliate.

Machen, whose lending career started in 2003 with First Security Bank, joined Bear State (then First Federal Bank) following a $46.3 million recapitalization in 2011 by Bear State Financial Holdings. He successfully led the bank’s turnaround in Northwest Arkansas as market president before relocating to Little Rock in 2013 to become the chief financial officer of the company and the bank. He was promoted to bank president in 2016. He was just 35 when Bear State’s board of directors elected him president and CEO of the holding company and CEO of the bank. That was in January 2017.

Machen, who lives in Little Rock with his wife and their three children, earned a finance degree from the University of Arkansas. He also is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania and the Executive Financial Leadership Program at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

Among other civic endeavors, Machen has been a board member of the Dean’s Alumni Advisory Council for the UA’s Sam M. Walton College of Business, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas.

Arvest operates more than 270 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 14 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. It is the second-largest bank based in Arkansas in terms of assets, according to the most recent data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., with $18.45 billion. Little Rock-based Bank of the Ozarks ($22.08 billion) is the only bank with more.

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