In Northwest Arkansas, First Security sets pace in ROA race

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 466 views 

For the seventh time in the past eight years, Searcy-chartered First Security Bank has the best return on assets (ROA) of the 27 privately-owned banks doing business in Northwest Arkansas. That’s according to an annual list compiled by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.

The Business Journal tracks data available from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and compiles a list of all banks doing business in the six-county market area (Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Madison, Sebastian and Washington) based on which bank has the best ROA. It is separated by private and public banks.

For a PDF of this year’s list, click here.

A bank’s ROA is a popular metric used to determine its profitability. As defined by the FDIC, it shows the percentage of how profitable a company’s assets are in generating revenue. The higher the ROA, the more money the company is earning in its assets.

Family-owned First Security, owned since 1977 by the Reynie Rutledge family, ended 2018 with a ROA of 2.04%, with assets of $5.26 billion.

The First National Bank of Fort Smith is a close No. 2 on the list with a ROA of 2.01%. Citizens’ Bank & Trust Co., which is based in Van Buren, is No. 3 with a ROA of 1.94%.

According to the FDIC, 93 Arkansas-chartered banks had a collective pre-tax ROA of 1.27% at the end of 2018. Six of the 27 private banks on the Business Journal’s list were above that mark. Ten of 11 public banks with operations in the region were at or above that mark.

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