Natalie Bartholomew to lead Batesville bank’s NWA market entry

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,641 views 

Batesville-chartered First Community Bank is planning an expansion into Northwest Arkansas.

The company said Tuesday (July 5) that it will soon open a loan production office (LPO) in Rogers and, pending regulatory approval, intends it to be a full-service branch by this fall. The location is in the Pinnacle Heights development at 5100 W. Park Ave. The 15-acre mixed-use development is situated at the northwest corner of the Pauline Whitaker Parkway roundabout, south of Hunt Tower.

In a news release, chairman and CEO Dale Cole said the Rogers LPO is an initial step to establishing multiple regional branches. The bank has hired Natalie Bartholomew as community president for Rogers and Northwest Arkansas.

“We are very fortunate to have a veteran banker like Natalie join our team and spearhead our efforts in the region,” Cole said in the release. “Her phenomenal reputation precedes her, and we feel that she is the perfect fit for this role.”

Bartholomew, who lives in Prairie Grove with her family, spent the past nine months working remotely as the chief impact officer at Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma. Her banking career in Northwest Arkansas dates back more than 20 years. She’s worked in the market for Grand Savings Bank, First National Bank of NWA and Arvest Bank.

In 2017, Bartholomew launched The Girl Banker blog, advocating for women in banking, working moms and community banking. Numerous industry publications have featured the platform, including American Banker and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.

Natalie Bartholomew

The Northwest Arkansas Business Journal recognized Bartholomew as a Forty Under 40 honoree in 2015 and a Women in Business honoree in 2018.

Bartholomew is a member of the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas’ community leadership council and an advisory committee member for the College of Business and Computer Information Systems at NorthWest Arkansas Community College.

“As a fifth-generation Northwest Arkansas resident, I am thrilled to be joining an Arkansas-based bank that will support the communities that mean so much to my family,” Bartholomew said. “I look forward to utilizing First Community Bank’s focus on developing strong relationships to build a strong team and branch network to support the Northwest Arkansas region.”

First Community opened in August 1997 with about $3.4 million in assets, 153 shareholders and 14 employees. The company now operates 30 locations in Arkansas (26) and Missouri, employs 520 workers and has assets of $2.06 billion as of March 31, 2022. The bank’s four Missouri branches are in the state’s southwestern corner in Neosho (2), Pineville and Goodman.

According to the FDIC, there are 22 lenders doing business in Rogers and 27 in Benton County.