Matt Smith’s occupation with one of the state’s most recognizable companies did not start with a grand plan.
“I never really planned on making [banking] a career,” he said. “Fifteen years later, here we are.”
That he’s advanced his career with Arvest Bank the past 15 years is a testament to Smith’s dedication and the company’s recognition of it.
In 2005, while attending NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC), Smith took a part-time job with the bank as a teller to earn some extra money.
It eventually turned to full-time work, with stops in Smith’s hometown of Huntsville, then to Springdale and back to Huntsville in 2012 as a commercial banker trainee.
Ultimately, when he was just 29, Arvest promoted Smith to lead the company’s $160 million-asset Huntsville market. The footprint of Madison County’s largest bank includes two branches and roughly 25 employees. In the five years since, the loan portfolio has increased by 13% and deposits have grown by 25%.
Smith said a community banker is good at being a jack of all trades, whether it is marketing, management or lending.
“My bank cellphone is my cellphone,” he said. “Our customers are friends and family. They know they can call whether the bank’s open or not.”
Because it’s his hometown, Smith is passionate about contributing to the community. He’s proud to say he and his wife grew up in Hunstville, and they’re raising their three children there.
Smith, who earned his associate degree from NWACC in 2018, is a board member of Northwest Arkansas Regional Housing Authority, Huntsville Economic Development & Tourism Commission and Our Healthy Communities Inc., the parent company of Meals on Wheels.