Steven Plaisance, a Rogers native and CEO of Arvest Bank’s record-setting mortgage division and Arvest Central Mortgage Co., recently resigned from the company where he worked for more than three decades. Feb. 19 was his final day.
“Arvest is a special place and will always be a special place,” said Plaisance, 49, who started with the company as a part-time teller in the summer of 1989, just a few weeks before starting his senior year at Rogers High School. “It’s where I met my wife and a company I never dreamed I would leave.”
On Feb. 22, Plaisance — who’s been based in Tulsa, Okla., for several years — started a new job with Jenks, Okla.-based Gateway First Bank. Kevin Stitt founded the company in 2000 as Gateway Mortgage Group LLC. Yes, that Kevin Stitt, who is now Oklahoma’s governor.
In May 2019, the company entered the personal and business banking market when it acquired 100-year-old Oklahoma-based lender Farmers Exchange Bank. The two companies emerged under the name Gateway First Bank and created one of the top five largest banks in Oklahoma.
Plaisance is president of the bank’s mortgage division, which is likely one and the same as Gateway Mortgage Group, a bank subsidiary with over 160 mortgage centers in 42 states. There’s a Gateway Mortgage office in downtown Rogers.
“They [Gateway] are evolving in an unconventional way but an exciting way,” he said. “It’s a bittersweet move, but I’m looking forward to being the new kid on the block and seeing if I can make a difference at Gateway.”
Plaisance’s job is subject to regulatory approval by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), so technically he’s working in an interim role. Approval is expected in 30 to 60 days.
Plaisance said Gateway Mortgage, one of the largest privately-held mortgage companies in the country, originated about $11.5 billion in production last year.
The Arvest mortgage division originated a record loan volume of more than $4.6 billion in 2020, the company’s second consecutive record-breaking year and third consecutive year with more than $2 billion in mortgage loan production.
Plaisance was appointed to an Arvest leadership position in 1996, and he had been the chief executive officer of Arvest’s mortgage division since 2015. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announced on Feb. 5 it had appointed Plaisance as chairman of the Mortgage Action Alliance (MAA) for the 2021-2022 election cycle.
“Steven is known for his passion and tremendous work ethic, and I have no doubt that he will help strengthen MAA’s advocacy and grassroots efforts,” MBA Chairman and CEO Susan Stewart said. “MAA broke membership and activation records this past election cycle, and I look forward to working with Steven to continue the momentum.”
Plaisance is also a two-time president of the Oklahoma Mortgage Bankers Association.
Arvest said Feb. 23 that Matt Kendall will fill Plaisance’s role on an interim basis. Kendall has worked at Arvest for more than 20 years, serving in various roles. He is currently the executive director of administrative operations and will maintain those duties along with assuming his new responsibilities.
“Arvest’s mortgage division remains dedicated to providing excellent service and support to our customers and is well-positioned to take advantage of the many opportunities in front of us,” the company said in a statement.