Arvest merges mortgage division into bank operations

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,160 views 

Photo courtesy Hight Jackson Associates.

Fayetteville-chartered Arvest Bank, the state’s second-largest bank, has finalized the legal merger of a wholly-owned subsidiary.

As of October, Arvest Central Mortgage Co. (CMC), a servicer of residential mortgages, began operating under the parent company. CMC was founded in 1997 and acquired by Arvest through the Central Bank and Trust acquisition (Little Rock) in 2000. CMC’s primary office is in Little Rock, with customer support operations in Lowell and Tulsa, Okla.

The bank’s corporate unification under the Arvest brand is tied to a change in its residential mortgage servicing system. As of Nov. 1, Arvest completed the transition to analytics and software firm Black Knight Inc.’s mortgage servicing platform (MSP) from Servicing Director, a third-party-provided servicing system. Rodney Bechdoldt, executive director of mortgage loan servicing for the bank and CMC, said the transition affects about 200,000 customer accounts — 77,000 from the bank’s mortgage division and 123,000 from CMC.

Arvest mortgage account holders will also notice an improved online experience that includes access to a new online access portal and extended customer service hours.

Matt Kendall was president and CEO of the bank’s mortgage division/CMC and will still be the top mortgage official in the company.

“We did this for efficiency and customer service’s sake,” he said.

He said no job cuts or layoffs are tied to the reorganization. He said it also should not be viewed as a reaction to the declining mortgage market due to inflation and rising interest rates.

“Our engagement with Black Knight started about three years ago,” he said. “We signed a contract with them 18 months ago and have been implementing since then. Not only is it [transferring] to a new servicing system, but it’s also combining two separate companies into one. This is not tied to the mortgage market.”

According to the FDIC, Arvest is the state’s second-largest bank, with $26.5 billion in assets as of June 30. Only Pine Bluff-chartered Simmons Bank ($27.1 billion) has more.

Arvest originated record mortgage volume for the third straight year in 2021. The bank’s total mortgage loan volume of more than $4.77 billion eclipsed $4.68 billion in 2020. The bank’s total mortgage loan volume in 2019 was $2.8 billion.