Matt Mason returns to Bank of Fayetteville as NWA market president

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,117 views 

Stuttgart-based Farmers and Merchants Bank (F&M) announced the hiring Friday (Feb. 3) of former commercial lender Matt Mason as Northwest Arkansas market president.

He succeeds Jennifer Hardin, who has been promoted to the company’s chief operations officer. F&M also announced Tyler Morgan’s promotion to chief risk officer.

Mason will oversee the bank’s retail and lending operations at nine locations in Northwest Arkansas. F&M acquired The Bank of Fayetteville (BOF) in November 2015 but BOF maintained its trade name doing business in eight branches — five in Fayetteville and one each in Farmington, Prairie Grove and West Fork. F&M also has a full-service branch on Walton Boulevard in Bentonville.

“When Jennifer Hardin moved to the role of COO, we immediately began to search for an executive that understood the culture and rich history of The Bank of Fayetteville,” said Greg Connell, the company’s executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “We found that in a former employee, Matt Mason. After serving as market leader for an Oklahoma bank for the past 13 years, he was ready to come back home to Fayetteville. We are fortunate to have him as the new BOF market president.”

According to a news release, Mason has 27 years of banking experience in Arkansas and Oklahoma. He previously worked at BOF as the senior vice president for commercial loans before leaving for Claremore, Okla., where he has worked as the executive vice president and market president for RCB Bank for the past 13 years.

His work experience also includes Arkansas’ agricultural industry, with stints as an economist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and a grain merchandiser.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to return to The Bank of Fayetteville and to lead a great team that has been an anchor in the community for more than 100 years,” Mason said in a statement. “Northwest Arkansas is home. It’s an exciting time in Fayetteville, and I look forward to getting involved with the community and reconnecting with friends and customers throughout the region.”

Hardin brings over 25 years of experience to her new role as COO. Since starting her career with The Bank of Fayetteville as a part-time teller after high school, Hardin has worked as a loan processor, lender, branch manager and as vice president and retail operations officer. She had been market president for the past two years.

She is a graduate of Leadership Fayetteville and a Community Leadership Council member for the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas. In 2022, the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named her one of its Women in Business honorees.

“Jennifer brings years of experience to her new role managing the bank’s comprehensive operations,” said executive vice president and chief operating officer Kelly Houghton. “She has demonstrated the ability to work within a large scope and has a deep understanding of our customer base and culture. I am excited to see what she is able to develop and accomplish as she leads this team to faster efficiency growth and stronger operational performance.”

Morgan joined F&M in 2018 and, most recently, was the bank’s chief security officer. He comes to his new role with eight years of experience in the financial industry and 12 years of history in the risk and security fields.

“Tyler is a proven leader that brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to our bank’s risk management program,” Houghton said. “His strong foundation in cyber security, fraud and enterprise risk ensures the protection of our bank’s customers, shareholders and employees in a rapidly evolving security environment. It is an honor to work with Tyler, and I look forward to seeing where his initiatives and strategy will lead our bank in the future.”

Farmers and Merchants Bank has 27 Arkansas locations with approximately $1.7 billion in assets.