Priority Bank sets ROA pace in Northwest Arkansas market

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,217 views 

Fayetteville-based Priority Bank has the best return on assets (ROA) of the 29 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.

For a PDF of the 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.

Priority Bank launched in Ozark in 1993 as River Valley Savings Bank. It rebranded as Priority in 1998 and moved its main office to Fayetteville in 2014. The bank ended 2020 with an ROA of 2.21%, with assets of $102.56 million. No other bank with operations in Northwest Arkansas had an ROA greater than 2%.

First Security Bank of Searcy is No. 2 on the list with an ROA of 1.91%. Citizens Bank & Trust Co. of Van Buren is No. 3 with a 1.57% ROA.

Two private banks entered the market in the past year and appear on the list for the first time: Missouri-based Sterling Bank and Partners Bank, an eastern Arkansas bank headquartered in Helena.

According to the FDIC, 86 Arkansas-chartered banks had a collective ROA of 1.17% at the end of 2020. Eleven of the 29 private banks on the Business Journal’s list were above that mark.

Five of 11 public banks with operations in the region were at or above that mark.