Longtime banker retires after 46 years

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 3,183 views 

Jerry Vest

There’s a regional leadership change coming to publicly traded Regions Bank.

After 46 years, Rogers bank executive Jerry Vest will retire on Aug. 31 as the Alabama bank’s top Northwest Arkansas market executive.

Vest, 68, has worked for Regions Bank in various positions in Fort Smith and Rogers since May 1976. An Arkansas native, he went right to work after graduating with a finance degree from the University of Oklahoma. He was a four-year letterman and scholarship basketball player for the Sooners.

Vest has worked in Rogers since 2000, overseeing Regions Bank operations in Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith and southwest Missouri.

“My wife [Kim] and I had a goal to pick a [retirement] date at the end of the summer,” Vest said. “The more we talked about it, we decided that we needed to pick a date and that date is now.”

Vest said he intends to travel more during retirement, likely to include stops along the professional rodeo circuit. A lifelong fan, he spoke to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal by telephone recently from Deadwood, S.D., and the 100th annual Days of ’76 Rodeo.

Vest said vice president and commercial relationship manager Jacyln Henderson would take over the bank’s top regional leadership position. She is a Rogers native and has worked for Regions Bank for 16 years.

“Our team is well-structured, and Jaclyn is in a great position to assume the leadership,” Vest said. “Everything just looks right.”

Henderson was a Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Forty Under 40 honoree in 2021. Regions Bank promoted her to vice president in 2016.

Jaclyn Henderson

“We have been preparing for a number of years for this transition and we’ve got a fantastic team here,” she said. “I think we’re poised to take that next step in the market.”

Regions Bank has four offices in Benton and Washington counties and four in Fort Smith. It’s a subsidiary of Regions Financial Corp. (NYSE:RF), with more than $161 billion in assets and approximately 1,300 banking offices in 16 states.

“We’re a large bank, and that means we have a lot of capabilities for our clients, but at our core, we are community bankers; that’s in our DNA and how we service our clients,” Henderson said. “To me, it’s the best of both worlds.”

Vest is a NorthWest Arkansas Community College board member and a Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce executive committee member. He said he won’t run for re-election this November for the NWACC board and will serve on the chamber board through the end of the year.

He is also near the end of a 10-year term on the Rogers Airport Commission and will continue in that role through March 2024.