The newest bank to throw its hat into the Northwest Arkansas ring is closer to establishing a physical office presence.
Encore Bank’s application to open a branch on the eighth floor of Hunt Tower at 5100 J.B. Hunt Drive in Rogers was approved this week by the state bank department.
Barry Jackson, the bank’s chief marketing officer, said he is hopeful the office can open in March.
The Little Rock-based bank officially entered the Northwest Arkansas market in the fall when it hired Chris Howe as market president. Howe held a similar title for Lafayette, La.-based IberiaBank Corp.
Hunter Norton and Patrick Woodruff have also joined the bank’s Northwest Arkansas team as senior vice presidents.
Encore Bank, which received new ownership and a new name less than a year ago, has been adding employees, expanding its investor base, and positioning itself for more asset growth in the past several months.
In a letter to investors in December, Encore Bank officials said roughly 425 new investors have combined to raise $50 million in capital. The raise was referred to in the letter as “the largest one-time equity raise for a privately held bank in the history of the state of Arkansas,” noting that the previous record was $44 million.
In May 2019, Encore Bank said it would eye five core markets: Little Rock, Northwest Arkansas, Jonesboro (northeast Arkansas), Dallas and Nashville, Tenn. Burt Hicks, director, senior executive vice president, chief operating officer and general counsel for Encore Bank and its holding company, Capital Bancshares, says they raised capital from all of those markets with central Arkansas and Jonesboro (northeast Arkansas) leading the way.
Encore Bank is led by several bank veterans including former Simmons Bank executive Chris Roberts, former IberiaBank leader Phillip Jett, and Hicks, who filled a number of executive roles at Simmons Bank over a five-year period.
Today, Encore Bank has 45 employees and approximately $344 million in assets.